Vodacom concert spotlights HIV/AIDS

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Mohalenyane Phakela

A STAR-STUDDED line-up of South African and local artists are billed to rock Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village for a worthy cause during the Moyo Benefit Concert slated for 9 April 2016.

The musical festival is the brainchild of Vodacom Lesotho with support from the Vodafone Group companies to bring awareness on the plight of people infected with the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

The initiative is part of the Vodafone Foundation’s Moyo Lesotho Programme aimed at supporting children and pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS and using the telecommunications’ giant’s mobile technology to link them to much needed care. The programme is held in partnership with the Ministry of Health, USAID and other global private partners.

According to the head of the Moyo Lesotho Programme, Dee Harlow, the festival is meant to draw people’s attention to paediatric HIV/AIDS cases which in turn would help spread the word about the life-changing initiative.

She said the entertainment line-up would feature South African and Lesotho heavyweights such as Nathi, Mafikizolo, Oskido, Bucie, DJ Shimza, Okmalumkoolkat, AKA, Nasty C, Tebogo, Tšepo Tšola, Bhudaza, Sentšo, Vesta, Linah, L-Tore, Converse Heroes, Hunky D and PabloDJ, among others.

“The concert will be an opportunity and platform for all stakeholders to show that we are behind Basotho in promoting health, hence the Vodacom slogan “Mobilising healthcare…Reaching You,” Ms Harlow said.

“Artists are very instrumental in bringing people together and have helped Vodacom raise awareness on different initiatives. That is why we decided to structure the launch of our programme in that way.

“We are hoping that people who attend the show will spread the message in their communities after the concert.”

She said the programme’s mission was to identify and assist children and women infected with the pandemic.

“We need to focus our attention on children, especially those living with HIV who have not yet been identified. We are hoping that parents and communities will join in and encourage everyone to get their children tested and start treatment,” said Ms Harlow.

“We should come together and give a voice to women and children, especially those who are sick and unemployed, and help them to live healthy lives.”

Under the Moyo Lesotho Programme, mobile outreach clinics conduct monthly visits to different communities, working four days in a week in Maseru and Leribe districts and providing various health services particularly to pregnant mothers and children living with HIV/AIDS.

The program was launched several years ago when Vodafone Foundation and Vodacom Lesotho staff embarked on a global fundraising campaign. After leading a consortium of funders and partners, the programme began last year in April.

“Our outreach clinics operate in line with the Ministry of Health’s policies and guidelines. We communicate to people through public gatherings organised by chiefs and community leaders,” she said.

“We make presentations and provide counselling at these gatherings to encourage people to get tested for HIV, and work together with health facility nurses to refer patients and link them to the care they need.

“Vodacom Lesotho is harnessing its strength and technology to give back to Basotho and to address the urgent problem of paediatric HIV in the country.”

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