We shall conquer AIDS: KK

In a message he delivered through a song at Namibia’s Windhoek State Hospital on Wednesday Kaunda said like colonialism, AIDS would also be overcome. Kaunda who was in a jovial mood was joined by the audience comprising mostly health workers who did not take time to sing along. “We have conquered many battles in the past. Now we should rise and conquer AIDS. Forward ever, backward never. We will conquer AIDS in the name of Africa,” sang the energetic 81-year old vegetarian who was in Namibia under his Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation programme. On his five-day tour of duty Kaunda was hosted by his counterpart Namibia’s founding father Sam Nujoma, the current president Hifikepunye Pohamba among other high ranking officials. In his brief address to the gathering that also included people that were in exile in Zambia during Namibia’s independence struggle he said Namibia like Zambia was his home and chanted his old slogan “One Namibia one Nation, One Zambia, one nation” while waving his trademark white handkerchief. Outlining what Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation has been doing in the fight against HIV/AIDS Kaunda’s son Waza Kaunda who is a medical doctor said the institution was putting much emphasis on prevention and nutrition especially in mothers. He said the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) was one area the foundation was succeeding in. Dr Kaunda said it was time Africans, especially the sick, reverted to eating unrefined or polished food stuffs. “There is need for food security but we must be aware that food from Europe might not work in Africa, what African people need is African food,” said Kaunda who presented power-point slides on the work the foundation has been doing including patients that have “recovered” after being administered with the right medicine and nutrition. The Kaunda foundation has a hospital where chronically ill patients are admitted until they either get better or die. Kaunda said stigma was also a problem hampering progress in that people shunned going for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) so that they could be put ARV. He said men were more reluctant to undergo VCT than women. Kaunda’s fight against AIDS which is ravaging the southern African region is steadily being appreciated by many. “His approach is to empower the grassroots and that is very good and cheap approach. He is also talking about nutrition which is very important,” said Professor Monish Gunawardana, Dean-Faculty of HIV/AIDS at the International University of Management in Namibia. Giving a vote of thanks Richard Kamwi Namibia’s Health and Social Services minister said there was need for Africans to get back to their traditional food as espoused by the Kaundas. “It is a reminder to us that we should get back to the basics and eat food that is of nutritional value,” he said. He said Africans made a mistake to abandon their traditional food to settle for the western ones. To spice the occasion Kamwi also sang one of Kaunda’s popular liberation songs “Tiyende pamodzi ndimutima umo,” without any trouble in pronouncing the Nyanja words.

April 2006
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