THE government has called for more researches to identify and come up with recommendations that will assist the public to get rid of harmful traditional practices which put girls and women at risk of HIV.
The call was given here by the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Youth, Employment and Persons with Disability), Ms Jenista Mhagama during a meeting between the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) and the Parliamentary Committee for HIV and drugs.
She said the research would come up with findings that would identify the good cultural practices which must be preserved and the harmful ones which need to be left out.
Minister Mhagama urged women to sensitize their partners to go for circumcision since that will protect them from the possibility of getting cervical cancer or HIV infections.
“Let us educate the public on the bad practices which have effects on girls and women’s wellbeing and put them at risk of HIV,” she insisted.
Acting TACAIDS Managing Director, Dr Jerome Kamwela, said there have been differences in HIV prevalence as per the gender.
He said in 2017, the rate of prevalence was high in women and girls between 15 and 49 years by about 5.7 per cent compared to men of the same age.
Dr Kamwela attributed the situation to some outdated cultural practices which put women and girls at more risk of being infected with HIV compared to men and boys.
He mentioned some of the reasons as gender based violence, female genital mutilation and child marriages.
According to him, 29.4 per cent of married women aged between15 and 49 years have reported to have faced gender based violence as well as sexual violence done on them by their partners.
On her part, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee for HIV and drugs, Ms Fatma Toufiq, said there was need to come up with a special strategy that will ensure that awareness reaches majority of people, especially in remote and rural areas.
She also insisted on men taking front seats in sensitization campaigns against bad practices as they will be key instrument for change.