World AIDS Day marked with screen­ing, test­ing

Lesotho Times - - Health - Mo­halenyane Phakela

AS part of World AIDS Day com­mem­o­ra­tions on Mon­day, Se­sotho Me­dia and De­vel­op­ment (SM&D) held a screen­ing, dis­cus­sion and HIV-test­ing ses­sion in Ha Sekhau­pane, Mafeteng.

SM&D is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that cre­ates aware­ness on var­i­ous so­cial is­sues through mo­bile screen­ings of doc­u­men­taries and dra­mas. They tra­verse the length and breadth of the coun­try, screen­ing films and ed­u­cat­ing peo­ple in re­mote ar­eas who usu­ally can­not ac­cess such fa­cil­i­ties.

Work­ing in con­junc­tion with coun­cil­lors, chiefs and the po­lice in the dis­tricts of the coun­try, SM&D’s mis­sion is to bring pos­i­tive change within com­mu­ni­ties.

The lo­cally-pro­duced docu-drama Khetho Eaka! (My choice) and another doc­u­men­tary, Steps, were screened for the Ha Sekhau­pane com­mu­nity. Khetho Eaka! ad­dresses a num­bers of is­sues linked to HIV such as rape, dat­ing mar­ried peo­ple, al­co­hol abuse and forced mar­riages, while Steps chron­i­cles the story of an HIV pos­i­tive man who mar­ried a neg­a­tive woman high­light­ing how dis­cor­dant cou­ples can live to­gether.

In the dis­cus­sion ses­sion led by SM&D fa­cil­i­ta­tors, mem­bers of the com­mu­nity re­vealed that they learned about the im­por­tance of get­ting tested and of talk­ing to their chil­dren about so­cial chal­lenges since they tend to get the wrong in­for­ma­tion from friends or so­cial me­dia.

They also said the prac­tice of ab­duct­ing girls to force them into mar­riage is still prev- alent.

The of­fi­cer com­mand­ing Matelile Po­lice Sta­tion, Se­nior In­spec­tor Mat­lotlo Mphohla, fur­ther elab­o­rated on the con­se­quences of en­gag­ing in forced mar­riages, which he said is re­garded as kid­nap­ping be­fore the courts of law.

“There are only two types of mar­riages in this coun­try which is a white wed­ding; an agree­ment be­tween two peo­ple over the age of 21 to get mar­ried, and the tra­di­tional wed­ding whereby there is agree­ment be­tween the two fam­i­lies to marry off their chil­dren. Ab­duc­tion is con­sid­ered a crime which will land you in jail,” Sen Insp Mat­lotlo Mphohla said.

SM&D also in­vited nurses and so­cial work­ers to the gath­er­ing, af­ford­ing the Ha Sekhau­pane com­mu­nity a chance to get tested in large num­bers and coun­selling ses­sions there­after.

SM&D also do­nated M2 100 to help the com­mu­nity start an in­come gen­er­at­ing project to as­sist vul­ner­a­ble mem­bers of the com­mu­nity.

MEM­BERS of the ha Sekhau­pane be­ing tested for HIV

The doc­u­men­taries Ke Khetho eaka and Steps

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