22 November 2012

Tanzania: Call for Legislation Against HIV Stigma

Photo: Tom Gwebayanga and Conan Businge (New Vision)
A HIV positive boy who has had to drop out of school due to excessive bullying on account of his status.

FIRST Vice-Chairman of the Christian Council of Tanzania (CCT), Dr Bishop Valentino Mokiwa, has called for legislation against stigma for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The legislation, as envisaged by Bishop Mokiwa, would protect victims of stigma at work places, schools and the general public. Dr Mokiwa, also the Head of the Anglican Church in Tanzania, made the remarks while officiating at a seminar for pastors on how to educate the public on various social economic issues.

"I for one consider people who dishonour others because of HIV/Aids or any other disease as mad people. There should be a punishment for people who stigmatize," the prelate said in Dar es Salaam. Some 30 pastors from CCT member churches are undergoing training on how to prepare radio and television programmes which will eventually make them educate the public on spiritual, social and economic issues.

"Stigma is a disease and a result of self-denial, why do you stigmatize someone while you are not sure of your status," he queried. He said the church is a part of the society and thus it cannot distance itself from challenges such as diseases and poverty among others.

"Even in the Holy Scriptures, Jesus is on record of having healed people with leprosy, and this was at the time that people suffering from the disease were highly stigmatized," the cleric noted.

Copyright © 2012 Tanzania Daily News. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.