Mozambique government approves legislation for a caregivers law
Last month, our VSO-RAISA team in Mozambique was invited to attend an annual review held at the Assembly of the Republic. We were there to witness what the Parliamentary Cabinet for the Prevention and Fight Against AIDS (GPPC-HIV and AIDS) has done over the last year to improve its services.
At the meeting, the GPPC-HIV and AIDS unanimously voted to commit to legislate for a draft care providers policy. We welcome this vote, as a policy for caregivers will help to reduce the burden of care on women and girls in home-based care.
A policy for caregivers will acknowledge the importance of community and home-based carers in society as they often receive no remuneration/stipend for what they do. Many care providers are also despised in their communities and ignored when they visit health centres for appointments or to collect medication.
We hope a policy for care providers will improve the services care providers receive and that they get the necessary equipment and psychosocial support that they need. A policy will also strengthen the capacity of VSO-RAISA and our partners who work with carers. We’ll be able to deal more effectively with the HIV and AIDS pandemic and to realise the rights of people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
In Mozambique, VSO-RAISA works closely with Members of Parliament (MPs) who are concerned with the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS and the challenges facing their home-based carers. At the annual review, we were acknowledged as one of the GPPC’s main partners who has helped to raise its awareness of the issues affecting those living with HIV and AIDS.
Our work with MPs includes holding workshops and annual regional conferences on HIV and AIDS. Our VSO-RAISA conference in 2012, focused on women empowerment and HIV and AIDS. Dr David Parirenyatwa (the former Minister of Health of Zimbabwe) was a keynote speaker. Several MPs from Mozambique were also at the conference.
A caregivers law in Mozambique will follow the example of governments in South Africa and Zimbabwe. (The Zimbabwe Carers Act was formally announced by the Honourable Thokozani Khupe, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, at VSO-RAISA’s conference in 2012.) VSO-RAISA (led by director Bongai Mundeta), has made a huge contribution across the region in advocating for these very important legislative changes.
MPs in Mozambique are now developing their plans to be more proactive in working closely with VSO-RAISA on our HIV and AIDS in Prison project. Its aim is to improve prison conditions for people living with HIV so they have better access to treatment, support and nutritional meals. This is also a major concern of GPPC-HIV and AIDS and is on Parliament’s agenda.