TRUCK DRIVERS LOBBY FOR NEW LEG­IS­LA­TION

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Nqo­bile Tshili

TRUCK drivers are lob­by­ing the Gov­ern­ment to en­act a law that will com­pel their em­ploy­ers to al­low them to travel with their spouses say­ing this will re­duce chances of them con­tract­ing HIV.

The drivers told Sen­a­tors that they travel long dis­tances, spend­ing lengthy pe­ri­ods with­out their wives, a sit­u­a­tion that forces some of them to seek sex from pros­ti­tutes.

Pre­sent­ing the the­matic com­mit­tee on HIV and Aids on the National Aids Coun­cil (NAC) ca­pac­ity build­ing work­shop and tour find­ings in the Se­nate on Wed­nes­day, the com­mit­tee’s chair­per­son Sen­a­tor Lil­ian Timveos said some truck drivers were ex­pos­ing their wives to HIV as some of them in­dulge in un­pro­tected sex with pros­ti­tutes.

Sen­a­tor Timveos said the drivers told the com­mit­tee that they were spend­ing up to three months away from home.

“Some of them also ad­mit­ted that they did not con­sis­tently use con­doms if they had in­ter­acted with the same com­mer­cial sex worker over time. Nac and its part­ners en­gaged the drivers to give them in­for­ma­tion on HIV and AIDS, coun­selling and test­ing for HIV,” said Sen­a­tor Timveos.

She said the drivers rec­om­mended that the State en­acts a law to al­low them to travel with their wives on work trips.

“Drivers made rec­om­men­da­tions as fol­lows, Par­lia­ment should en­act leg­is­la­tion which will com­pel em­ploy­ers to al­low truck drivers to travel with their wives. This will re­duce the spread of HIV as spouses will be able to travel to­gether and the need for ser­vices of com­mer­cial sex work­ers will not arise,” she said.

Sen­a­tor Timveos said the truck drivers also ap­pealed to the Gov­ern­ment to fa­cil­i­tate the pro­vi­sion of health cen­tres near high ways so that they can also ac­cess the med­i­cal ser­vices.

“Some of the drivers are HIV pos­i­tive or suf­fer from chronic ill­nesses and there­fore rec­om­mended that well­ness cen­tres or clin­ics be lo­cated near truck stops to en­able them to ac­cess health care ser­vices eas­ily,” said Sen­a­tor Timveos.

She said truck drivers ex­pressed con­cerns over de­lays in clear­ing cargo by the Zim­babwe Rev­enue Au­thor­ity say­ing this has re­sulted in them spend­ing about two weeks at bor­der posts.

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