Tzviatko Chiderov is a ONE volunteer from Chicago and has been a member since 2007. He is currently on assignment in Zimbabwe with Voluntary Services Overseas. Keep on the lookout for more posts like these in the series “Z for Zimbabwe.”
First of all, Happy Africa Day! A couple of weeks ago I attended the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. It is the most exciting event of the year for the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Locals, as well as visitors and business people from across southern Africa, come together every year for this one-week affair. It features an eclectic collection of products, services, awareness campaigns and activities of all sorts.
I attended the fair with my current employer, the National AIDS Council (NAC). Our exhibit was fairly large, containing informational booths on prevention, treatment, care, nutrition, it even had an interactive advocacy and awareness section for the Zimbabwe Young People’s Network on HIV and AIDS. One of the things the young people’s network volunteers were doing was showing educational movies on HIV and AIDS to younger kids and leading them into discussions afterward.
It was interesting and encouraging to see so many different organizations with the common goal of fighting HIV and AIDS in the country being actively represented and working together in collaboration. I went around most of the booths and interviewed some of the people working there (see video above).
There was also a booth for the Ministry of Health staffed by a specialist on vaccines. I spoke with him a bit about some of the current issues and challenges related to vaccines in Zimbabwe. See the video below:
As you can see, although vaccines may be available for free to all children, this does not automatically solve the problem. There are complex issues involving culture, religion and awareness that need to be addressed before universal vaccine coverage can be achieved. We should continue to work towards that and ensure that in a 21st century world, every child receives all necessary vaccines to stay and grow healthy.
I’m happy I got the chance to see the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and among other things experience the encouraging and powerful display of health care efforts, which continue to improve the country’s well-being.