Masimba Biriwasha

RH Reality Check, Africa & Asia

Masimba Biriwasha is a children's writer, poet, playwright, journalist, social activitist and publisher. He has experience working in HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe and Thailand. He is currently working for Health & Development Networks, an HIV/AIDS advocacy organization based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


All Work

Why TB Matters to Women’s Health

Masimba Biriwasha

Tuberculosis has a major impact on women's reproductive health and the health of their children, but there is little attention to women's vulnerability in the current media blitz about a resurgent TB internationally, and in particular, in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Africa, Menstruation Can Be a Curse

Masimba Biriwasha

Menstruation is perhaps one of the most ordinary individual female experiences but, in sub-Saharan Africa, the experience often impacts society as a whole negatively due to the absence of clean water, sanitation, and products to cope with menstrual flow.

New Thinking Required to Win the Fight

Masimba Biriwasha

In order to make real progress, there has to be a paradigm shift in our perception of sex and sexuality in the context of HIV. Money tied with restrictions that exclude many groups and limit access to services will only save to extend the lifeline of the epidemic.

Americans and the Caribbean HIV Explosion

Masimba Biriwasha

For both self-protection and for humanitarian reasons, Americans should be seriously concerned about the explosion of HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, where the reality of sex workers and the Global Gag Rule are factors in the continuing spread of the disease.

Unsafe Abortion Leads to Maternal Death

Masimba Biriwasha

In Zimbabwe, abortion, except in cases of rape, incest, fetal impairment, or to preserve a woman's health, is illegal - and if caught, women face jail terms. As a result, many women resort to clandestine, unsafe and life-threatening abortion methods.

In Asia, Sexual Minorities Demand Equality

Masimba Biriwasha

Protecting the sexual and reproductive health rights of every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, is essential for a just social order. However, in many parts of Asia, sexual minorities face serious human rights violations.

Better Sex Ed Needed for African Adolescents

Masimba Biriwasha

It is not enough to teach adolescents the theory and moral aspects of sex - they also need life skills to deal with practical situations. Denying that young people engage in sexual activity is a recipe for disaster and a better response requires equipping adolescents with adequate knowledge to protect themselves.

Zambia’s Voiceless Children

Masimba Biriwasha

Nothing short of a Herculean effort is required to help the growing legion of orphans in Zambia to lead normal lives. A holistic approach including provisions for nutrition, health and cognitive development, and educational and psychosocial support is required to effectively respond to the orphan crisis.

Ethiopia Makes Strides in Family Planning

Masimba Biriwasha

Unsafe abortion is the second leading cause of death in Ethiopia. So the Ministry of Health's announcement that it will provide family planning services to 8.5 million women across the country is particularly welcome.

Making AIDS Political

Masimba Biriwasha

Genuine political will to fight the epidemic at all levels, along with an allocation of resources that are consistently monitored and accounted for, is critical to an effective AIDS response.

Facing Up to Violence Against Women

Masimba Biriwasha

In many parts of the world, violence against women is a mirror of the structural and traditional inequalities between men and women. Due to women's subordinate status in society, they are treated as property by their male counterparts.

Gender Violence Worsens HIV Crisis

Masimba Biriwasha

A recent report in Zimbabwe shows that violence against women has become normalized, so programs that encourage men to shun the use of violence need to be an integral component of every HIV intervention.

On Men Having Safe Sex

Masimba Biriwasha

Clearly, men have unique sexual and reproductive health needs, but their needs are more often than not sidelined in reproductive health service provision. Men's limited participation in reproductive health affects not only the health of men themselves, but also their female partners, children and the general society.

Cultural Matters of Reproductive Health

Masimba Biriwasha

People should be able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to have children. But in Zimbabwe, this right is curtailed by the unseen force of tradition and culture.

Women and War

Masimba Biriwasha

A recent UN report addresses sexual violence as "the shame of war." Populations that are displaced as a result of conflict face reproductive health challenges that are not currently being met, especially those of women and girls.

Microbicides: Not a Silver Bullet

Masimba Biriwasha

Microbicides may be a potential solution for women to control their sexual health, but accessibility, women's inequality and other issues must be addressed for this to be an effective preventative method in Thailand.

The Power Of A Woman’s Story

Masimba Biriwasha

Pat (not her real name) had been living with HIV for seven years—five of which she was taking life prolonging ARVs—when she suddenly became pregnant. Her doctor referred her to a clinic with explicit instruction to get the pregnancy terminated.

Like most women in Thailand and around the globe, there was very little Pat could do to avoid or keep the pregnancy. She says lack of access to appropriate contraceptives left her vulnerable to the unintended pregnancy. Also, little knowledge about what a woman can do to prevent transmitting HIV to the child left her with very little choice.

A Question of the Cutting Edge: Male Circumcision & HIV

Masimba Biriwasha

Editor's Note: Today we welcome Masimba Biriwashi, a Zimbabwean writer and journalist, writing from Thailand. He has experience with Health & Development Networks and will be covering HIV/AIDS issues on the continents of Africa and Asia.

Male circumcision (removal of the foreskin of the male penis) is increasingly gaining currency as an alternative method to reduce HIV-infection. In sub-Saharan Africa, the worst affected region in the world, male circumcision (MC) could prevent six million new infections, researchers say.

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