2009-11-05 12:14:00 Report monster husbands to me: First Lady First Lady Salma Kikwete greets Chimala Township residents during her tour of Mbeya Region on Tuesday.By The Citizen Correspondent, Mbarali First Lady Salma Kikwete yesterday urged women who were battered or divorced by their husbands over health issues to report them to the relevant authorities for legal assistance. Mrs Kikwete told women who were subjected to violence, including being battered or divorced by their spouses for seeking to establish their HIV status, to take courage and bring the matter to her attention for immediate action. The First Lady gave out her mobile number for the victims to call her or send text messages whenever they were battered or divorced so that she could intervene. She said she could be reached on 0754 294450 0754 294450 any time, and promised to respond to requests for assistance. �Some men are unfaithful, and have affairs with other women that jeopardise their marriages and put their wives at risk of infection...why should you be battered or divorced because you had the courage to wish to know your HIV status? Is this not gender violence?� asked Mrs Kikwete. Mrs Kikwete, who also chairs the Women and Development (Wama) NGO, was speaking in Mbarali District, where she handed over assorted medical equipment to the district hospital. She said the surest way to contain the HIV/Aids scourge in the district was for couples to be careful and faithful in their marriages. The First Lady said people should also take appropriate measures to protect themselves against HIV infection. Mrs Kikwete advised women to avoid having multiple sexual partners, saying the habit caused men to desert their families and divorce their wives. Speaking during the same occasion, Mbarali District Medical Officer Somoka Mwakapalala said there were almost 70,000 women of childbearing age in the area, but only a handful attended antenatal clinics. He said 11,875 pregnant women attended clinic last year, but only 4,583 agreed to be tested for HIV under the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme. �This problem can be traced to men who threaten and intimidate their wives to prevent them from taking HIV tests. There are numerous cases of women who have been divorced for taking HIV tests,� Dr Mwakapalala said, adding that men were also reluctant to take HIV tests and go for counselling. The Walter Reed organisation has donated a CD4 machine for HIV testing at the hospital. Dr Mwakapalala said the machine had greatly boosted the hospital�s capacity to correctly assess people living with HIV before putting them on anti-retrovirals (ARVs). He said during the national HIV/Aids testing campaign launched by President Jakaya Kikwete and the First Lady in 2007, 14,875 women and 9,475 men were tested. Some 3,186 people tested positive. He said the district had 5,410 people on ARVs. Wama donated assorted equipment to the maternity wing at the hospital worth Sh5.7 million during Mrs Kikwete�s tour, which was part of her three-day visit to Mbeya Region.