There has been an outcry in Tanzania over a woman who was badly injured by her husband after she took an HIV test which is being encouraged nationwide.
Tumaini Mbogela said her husband beat her when she returned from a voluntary counselling centre in the town of Makete where she took the HIV test. Rights activists say the attack was “uncalled for” and women do not need permission to check their HIV status. Half of the 1.6m Tanzanians living with HIV are women, recent figures show. Reports from Makete say the husband is on the run from the police. Relatives claim that he is mentally confused after the realising that the law-enforcers were looking for him.
Women’s rights activist Jostina Katunzi said 34-year-old Tamali Mbogella was responding to a nationwide drive when she went for an HIV test in Makete. “Women are so concerned about their health and she was free to go for the test – I do not think she had to consult her husband,” Ms Katunzi said.
The BBC’s John Ngahyoma in Dar es Salaam says the Makete area is one of the worst-affected regions in Tanzania with a 24% HIV prevalence rate compared to 7% nationally. When the health ministry launched a nationwide testing campaign in July, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete was one of the first to take the HIV test.
Following the Makete case, the head of Tanzania’s Commission for Aids, Taj Liundi, has advised married couples to consult each other before going for the test. “This is an isolated case of a violent man and does not represent all men in Tanzania,” Mr Liundi said. “But we shall intensify our efforts to raise awareness of the importance of going for a test.” Mrs Mbogela has now been discharged from hospital, our correspondent says.