Harare – Zimbabwean activists have reacted angrily to an advert signed by the ministry of higher education, inviting qualified non-HIV positive Zimbabweans to apply for scholarships to study in Egypt, reports New Zimbabwe.
The scholarships were for undergraduate science students who wanted to go and study in the north African country. The successful applicants were expected to start in September this year.
In an advert signed by the ministry's permanent secretary, one of the criteria for the scholarship was an HIV certificate which would prove that the applicant did not have the virus.
However, according to SafAids communications manager Tariro Makanga, this discriminated against HIV positive students who would like to apply.
“Discriminating student because of their HIV positive status reverses the gains that government, especially the ministry of health and child care and other stake holders have made so far,” Makanga was quoted saying.
An unnamed source within the education department, however, said the requirements were set by the Egyptian administrators.
A recent BBC report indicated that Zimbabwe had the highest prevalence of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
The report quoted a United Nations study as saying that the southern African country had an infection rate of 15%.
The study estimated that only 618 000 of these infected Zimbabweans - less than one third - had access to the antiretroviral treatments.
- News 24