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“We Must Capitalise On The Ubiquitous Nature Of Social Media As Well To Reach Our Audiences On The Instant,” NAC CEO Madzima

By NAC CEO, Dr. B. Madzima
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By NAC CEO, Dr. B. Madzima

Welcome Remarks by Dr. Bernard Madzima, the National AIDS Council Chief Executive Officer at the HIV and AIDS Update Workshop for Journalists at Chinhoyi University Hotel on 27 October 2022
-Salutations-

 

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour and privilege for me to welcome you to this very important HIV and AIDS update workshop for journalists.

 

The objective of this workshop is to engage you in improving the HIV and AIDS reportage by raising your appreciation and knowledge of various developments around the pandemic.

 

 

It is part of our broad media strategy that involves media tours, sensitisation of media personnel on current diaries and media awards as well use of paid columns to share information on HIV and AIDS. As you will recall, such workshops have become calendar platforms where we always engage with the overall goal to improve awareness and knowledge of our people of the HIV and AIDS pandemic. In addition to yourselves, we also regularly meet with your editors.

 

 

This workshop has come at a time when only a few weeks ago Zimbabwe has been conformed at the official host of the 2023 International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa. Let me thank you all for the positive articles you wrote in support of our bid.

 

 

Infact, the assessment of our preparedness included a critical focus on media capacity and diversity about which we fared well. The work ahead, in terms of preparing for the actual conference and its hosting will heavily depend on media contributions and I would like to appeal to you to continue partnering with us as undertake to raise the flag of our country high.

 

 

The National AIDS Council highly values the media as a sector that is critical in achieving the objectives of the national response to HIV and AIDS. We have engaged you over the years, seeking to share updates and latest developments in the response, both at global and local levels. We have seen the result of that engagement – and let me applaud you for the increased coverage – in terms of numbers of articles in the media.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, let me however emphasise the fact that coverage is no longer about the numbers of articles that appear in the media, but more about the actual content, how one tackles the subject.

 

 

We now pay more attention to the active voice, the one that speaks to us about the stigma, the deaths, the struggles people face and the action we need to take to improve lives.

 

 

 

I follow what most of you write, basically across all forms of media. We need to understand that HIV and AIDS, while some of you may think is now a tired story, still deserves our attention and we must capitalise on the ubiquitous nature of social media as well to reach our audiences on the instant. You can reach more people and move policies and decisions with just a tweet.

 

 

 

Twitter and Facebook have become the in-thing in terms of sharing information as it happens, especially at high stakes events like the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa that we recently held and the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Durban in July later this year.

 

 

Among some of our work, you may be aware that the National AIDS Council is implementing HIV prevention models to re-invigorate community driven HIV prevention interventions. These interventions happen in places in which you live and work; and as such should not escape your attention.

 

 

We count on you not only to publicise and report on them, but also to question and flag issues of accountability in how resources in the entire response are utilised. Your duty is much more than just reporting, it borders on policy influence and advocacy as well as monitoring and evaluation, which are all critical components of an effective response.

 

 

For this to happen, we fully understand that you need to be informed about these developments, and that’s why we always seek to engage you through these platforms.
This workshop will as usual follow the format of presentations by experts in various areas of the response, discussions and demonstrations.

 

 

There will be presentations on current developments in such areas as HIV decriminalisation, HIV and Cancer, funding for HIV and HIV prevention models among others.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to encourage you all to actively participate and contribute to the proceedings.

 

 

Once again, ladies and gentlemen feel warmly welcome to this media workshop.
I Thank You,

 

 

Robert Tapfumaneyi