Men in Limpopo to drive the Brothers For Life Campaign
“Even at the point when I felt most betrayed by my partner , I never contemplated hitting her” participant
The Limpopo Provincial Department of Health and the Brothers For Life team hosted the men of Limpopo at the Limpopo Provincial Men’s sector meeting in Polokwane on the 9th and 10th of March.
The purpose of the meeting was to revitalize the Men’s sectors response to HIV and its drivers using the Brothers For Life campaign as a community mobilization tool. Men’s sector representatives from all districts in Limpopo attended this meeting which was also graced by representatives from the Limpopo Premier’s office , the Provincial Department of Health’s Government Aids Action Plan team, COSATU , Traditional leaders , the Business sector among others.
Percy Borotho , Chairperson of Men in Partnership against Aids (MIPAA) warned against the labelling of all men as abusers and rapists and importance of the role of men in restoration of morals . “It is important that as men we play significant role in curbing social ills perpetrated by the small minority of men in our communities as these result in dire consequences for all of us and those we love, Brothers for life gives an opportunity for all our formations work together in this regard” he said.
Johanna Raphakwana from the Department of Health and Social development presented the state of the epidemic in the province as well the many interventions put in place to deal with it in the province . She encouraged the men’s sector to play a key role in the upcoming National HIV Testing Campaign . “ Men are not accessing health services including testing and treatment at the levels they should be , the HIV Counselling and Testing campaign (HTC) is an opportunity for the men’s sector to get more men to know their status .
District representatives drafted District Plans for the implementation of Brothers for life in the districts and their community mobilization role in the upcoming HTC campaign. The HCT campaign will be launched in Limpopo by Premier Cassel Mathale on the 08 April 2023 in Mankweng and seeks to mobilize everyone to test for HIV and access treatment if there is a need.
A number of issues were discussed with the role of Men in the Prevention of Mother to child transmission taking centre stage. Issues around the influence of traditional practices , influence of the extended family , and the difficulties of disclosure were discussed extensively . Gender Based Violence and living the values of the Brothers For Life campaign were two other hot topics , it was generally recognised that change starts within each individual and men must be vigilant in discouraging negative behaviours such as relationships with many partners and relationships with underage girls.
A provincial steering committee was formed , its role will be driving and monitoring the Men’s sector response in Limpopo , it consists of district representation and the Provincial Department of Health and Social Development.