Every 1st of December, the world celebrates World Aids Day. Just like any other day set aside to commemorate a disease either communicable or non-communicable, World Aids Day aims at sensitising, reminding and educating the masses on different aspects of the disease.
I like the theme for this year’s World Aids day “Getting to zero”. I have to confess that this may look to be a tall order, especially in a developing and poor country like Malawi. I think it requires realistic and pragmatic strategies and programmes to achieve this goal, especially in a country like Malawi. For sure, if one talks about realising a generation free of HIV and Aids, the target should be young boys and girls who are not yet infected. Unfortunately, recent studies indicated high rates of infection in this population groups.
That is why I am arguing that if there are no realistic and pragmatic strategies and programmes this will be a mere fallacy, common with Malawi and other developing countries.
I would like to argue to all and sundry that to me, as a trained and qualified public health specialist, one of such strategies is through promotion of specific sporting activities, especially boxing. I am saying this because of my passion for public health and as one of the public health specialists in this country and not as a boxing promoter, as others may want to argue.
I think I need to reveal why I have been very passionate on promoting boxing. Many people will be surprised that this came out of my profession as a public health specialist also responsible for disease control. I basically promote boxing as a way of implementing a specific strategy for preventing and controlling HIV and Aids.
Readers may need to know that it is a standard principle and procedure in boxing for every boxer to be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and STDs before one is allowed to box. Failure in any of these tests renders cancellation of the boxing contract.
It is for this reason that, when training and mentoring boxers promoters and managers, like myself, hold sessions with boxers both seasoned and especially young ones to make sure that they, at all cost, behave in a manner as to protect themselves from contracting HIV and Aids and STDs, because once they contract the virus, they will not be allowed to box, meaning the end of their career.
It’s very pleasing to note that in the three years that I have been promoting boxing, almost all the boxers I promoted in my first bouts still qualify for bouts, even now, after undergoing the mandatory tests. As a trained public health specialist, I can confidently conclude that the fact that they are into boxing gives them the urge to make sure that they remain the same in order to reach their maximum potential in boxing. They know that once they mess up, then they are done. Some boxers in this country messed up and were denied to box while at their peak. These are good examples to our young boxers.
The sport of Boxing are some strategies and programmes we need to encourage among our youth if we are to realise this dream as stipulated in the theme for this year’s World Aids Day. To all organisations that work in the control and prevention of HIV and Aids, think of investing in boxing as another pragmatic strategy.
Today, I have spoken as a disease control professional, next time I come to your organisation with a proposal to support boxing, we expect your understanding. See you then.