Manicaland Correspondent
Centre for Sexual Health HIV and AIDS Research (CeSHHAR), a non-governmental hospital, has opened a free health facility – Sakubva Health Centre at Sakubva District Hospital – in Mutare to cater for commercial sex workers only.

Commercial sex workers who were interviewed by The Herald in Mutare and surrounding areas said they were encouraged by the latest development.

One beneficiary only identified as Memo said the hospital would help significantly reduce health risks in the sector.

“CeSHHAR came to us as a relief; we are now enjoying this trade (commercial sex work) without any fear of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like it used to be in the past,” she said.

“We are not paying anything for the health services; otherwise to become infected by STIs is now a choice because at the clinic, you get all the treatment. You need to avail yourself and come open about your situation, they will sort you out.

“Moreover, the clinic is specifically for us commercial sex workers, unlike at other clinics where one would be ashamed to open up about diseases, at CeSHHAR we know that we are going to our partners for help.”

The clinic is meant to treat commercial sex workers of any sexually transmitted ailment and offer counselling services.

Officials working at the health centre refused to comment, referring questions to the organisation’s director, Mr Tendai Maradza, whose mobile number was unreachable by yesterday.

Mutare City council public relations officer Mr Spen Mutiwi said the NGO was complementing Government and council in fighting STIs.

“I can confirm that CeSHHAR was given the green light to operate using Mutare City Council premises at Sakubva Health Centre and is complementing both central Government and the city council in fighting STIs,” he said.

Some residents who spoke to The Herald expressed concern over the development, saying it tacitly gives approval to commercial sex work.

“Things are really changing for the worse,” said Precious Mutembwe (44) of Nyamauru Dangamvura,  Mutare.

“How can people sit down and plan to establish a clinic for commercial sex workers and give them free services for that matter when people such as road accident victims who are in dire need of treatment are made to pay.”

Others felt the development would only fuel moral decadence and promiscuity.

CeSSHHAR is a non-governmental organisation sponsored by the Global Fund and has numerous branches dotted around the country’s cities and towns, and in other countries.

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