The National Aids Council (NAC) has implored the media to report more on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like cancer and kidney which are worryingly on the increase. NAC board member Mrs Tariro Makanga-Chikumbirike made the remarks at the NAC Media Awards Ceremony held in Harare yesterday, which saw four Zimpapers journalists scooping the top four prizes.
The reporters are Sunday News' Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Thandeka Moyo (Chronicle), Sunday Mail's Shamiso Yikoniko and Mirirai Nsingo of The Saturday Herald.
"While HIV has been contained to an extent, it is the rising cases of cancer that are now more worrying signifying a need for increased attention," said Mrs Makanga-Chikumbirike.
"In this regard, I would like to encourage the media to once again rise to the occasion and scale up reportage on cancer and other non-communicable diseases such as kidney infections, heart and others ailments, which are becoming prevalent as people living with HIV are now living longer."
Mrs Makanga-Chikumbirike said she was happy that coverage on HIV and AIDS had improved over the years.
"You will agree with me that coverage of HIV and AIDS has improved over the years, in terms of both quantity and quality.
"We, therefore, should not be complacent. It is time to shift from the number of stories written to ones whose content inspires hope and behaviour change among our people. For this to happen, we need reporters who understand the subject of HIV and AIDS, who have passion and commitment as well as consistency.
"These awards are, therefore, for such reporters who are not just driven by podium stories, but go out of their way to unravel the ramifications of HIV among left-out and most at risk sub groups of our population," she said.
NAC chief executive officer Dr Tapuwa Magure said the awards were an addition to the already functional partnership that NAC enjoys with the media.
"Our partnership is anchored on the belief that the media is one of the critical sectors in the national response to HIV and AIDS. Zimbabwe has achieved rapid declines in both HIV incidence and prevalence over the years, in addition to overwhelming awareness about HIV and its consequences.
"The media have played a major role in these achievements for which Zimbabwe has come to be known as a pathfinder," he said.