Health issues brought to Hifa

THE United States, through its embassy in Harare, has partnered with the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) to showcase a tuberculosis film as well as musical and health infotainment in Harare’s First Street.

The First Street stage will provide a platform for the embassy partners to reach out to the public and will be called the Hifa’s Pepfar (President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief) First Street Stage.

“We see the Festival as an opportunity to learn more about Zimbabwean art and culture as well as sharing American art forms and our commitment to a healthy Zimbabwe,” public affairs officer at the United States embassy David McGuire said.

“We are excited to be part of this year’s edition of Hifa,”

Pepfar is the US government’s initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/Aids around the world.
The Pepfar First Street Stage will provide free shows during the duration of the festival under the theme “Start Free, Stay Free, Aids Free.”

In addition, the public will receive health information as well as access services from US embassy partners supported through the US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.

Among the performances at the Pepfar First Street Stage will be the visiting acapella musical group, Street Corner Symphony, which is a five-member Nashville, Tennessee-based group.

It was established in 2010 and has made their mark on the music world, recording albums and performing around the world, working with major artistes including Ben Folds, Alison Krauss, and Take 6’s Claude McKnight.

According to a release by the US Embassy, the feature film, Lucky Specials, was produced with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) and Pepfar in partnership with Discovery Learning Alliance, Quizzical Pictures, Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, and Management Sciences for Health (MSH) to produce the film which premiered in Harare on March 9.
In this “edutainment” film, both plot twists and scientific video animations tell individuals what they need to know about the tuberculosis (TB) disease, treatment, and prevention.

In Zimbabwe, Pepfar has committed $135 million in 2017, and the initiative supports the Government of Zimbabwe’s National response to HIV and AIDS by providing high-impact prevention, care, and treatment interventions.

This is not the first time Pepfar has taken part in Hifa. In 2014, the Pepfar First Street Stage became a popular spot with the young people in Harare. Pepfar partners provided HIV testing and counselling services; conducted blood collection and a donor recruitment and retention exercise;  distributed condoms; taught young people how to prevent HIV infection as well as how to access anti-retroviral therapy and other crucial information services.—Bridget Mananavire

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