Paramount Chief Kyungu of Karonga on Wednesday asked his subjects to refrain from cultural traditions that promote the spread of HIV and AIDS such as polygamy and wife inheritance popularly known as kuhala in local language.
The chief was speaking during the annual HIV and AIDS review meeting at the Karonga District Council Hall organized at the boma.
“The fight against HIV and AIDS should not be left in the hands of the district council alone. Everybody should take part,” he said, stressing that chiefs should take lead in educating their subjects on the need to refrain from cultural traditions that enhance spread of HIV and AIDS.
Polygamy and wife inheritance are commonly practiced in Northern Region, including Karonga District. However, with the advent of HIV and AIDS, the traditions are largely viewed as promoters of the spread of the pandemic, hence constant calls for their stoppage.
While traditional leaders strive to do away with undesired practices, Chief Kyungu said it is important for them to also come up with other AIDS prevention interventions so that they are integrated into the District Implementation Plan (DIP) for Karonga District.
The chief observed that the spread of the pandemic was worsened by men in the habit of having multi-sexual partners. He said the tendency only victimised the wives, which necessitated the concerned couples to constantly go for HIV counselling and testing to know their sero status.
District Commissioner for Karonga, Emmanuel Banda, said the fight against the pandemic would be effective with integrated HIV and AIDS work plans.
He, therefore, asked government departments and Non- Governmental Organizations in the district to share their HIV and AIDS plans with the District AIDS Coordinating Committee (DACC) which would consolidate them into district implementation plan.