On Saturday the 30th of November the Legal Environment Assessment (LEA) for HIV, TB , Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights report was launched in Masvingo on the eve of the World AIDS Day Commemorations, under the theme ‘Communities make the difference’. This city was also host to the national World AIDS Day celebrations on the 1st of December 2019.
The LEA identified and examined all important legal and human rights issues affecting individuals living with HIV, people with tuberculosis (TB ) and those at higher risk of HIV exposure such as key and affected populations. The assessment interrogated Laws, regulations and policies which have a bearing on HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights, TB and key populations, and provided recommendations on reviewing and aligning the Laws with the Constitution and regional best practices.
Madalena Monoja, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP stated, “There is need for supportive legislation, policies, positive court decisions, strengthening legal literacy, and collaborations with progressive law-makers and law-enforcers to collectively enhance gender-sensitive access to rights, protections and quality health and social services for key populations.”
The in- depth assessment of key HIV law done through LEA found that the national response to HIV and TB, including regulatory and policy frameworks, strategies and plans have contributed to a notable reduction in new HIV infections in Zimbabwe. However key populations, especially the youth, continue to experience stigma, discrimination and a range of human rights violations. These are infringing on their rights to adequate access to healthcare services such as HIV prevention, treatment care and support and sexual and reproductive health services.
“The national response to these epidemics has largely been generalised, thus leaving behind key populations such as prisoners, sex workers, people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men and the LGBTI community” – Hon Obadiah Moyo, Minister of Health and Child Care
To achieve the intended results of the national response to HIV and TB responsive laws and polices and target programmes are needed to enhance access to prevention and healthcare services, improve treatment and support for affected populations thereby protecting their basic rights and move the nation closer to ending AIDS by 2030.
The LEA was commissioned under the ‘ Linking Policy and Programming(LPP) project which is seeking to improve the sexual and reproductive health outcomes for young key populations in Southern Africa. This project is being implemented by UNDP in partnership with the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), and the Health Economics and AIDS Research Division (HEARD) of the University of Kwazulu-Natal. Financial support for this five-year project (2016-2020) has been provided by the Netherlands government.