IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 157, 28 November 2003
Friday 30 January 2004


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
·South Africa
West Africa


Country Profiles
Conferences / Research
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News Briefs

AFRICA: Vatican condemns high price of anti-AIDS drugs
ETHIOPIA: Free AIDS drugs in remote area
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: HIV/AIDS awareness programme targets prisoners
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 157, 28 November 2003


AFRICA: Governments have failed children orphaned by AIDS
BURUNDI: Women wake up to HIV/AIDS
GLOBAL: AIDS treatment must adapt to poor communities, says MSF
LESOTHO: Stepping up HIV/AIDS efforts
ETHIOPIA: Interview with UNAIDS head Bunmi Makinwa


1. HIV/AIDS Partnership Menu
2. Soul Beat Africa
3. Global Fund for Women
4. Regional AIDS Training Network
5. Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative



AFRICA: Governments have failed children orphaned by AIDS

Africa's governments are failing children affected by HIV/AIDS - up to 65 percent of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have no national policy in place to care for orphans and vulnerable children, a new UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) report has found.

According to the report "Africa's Orphaned Generations", the cultural practice of the extended family caring for orphans has so far relieved the pressure on governments and national institutions, but this was slowly unravelling. Families had become "overstressed and overwhelmed", UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy told journalists at the release of the report on Wednesday in Johannesburg.

Orphaned children could no longer remain invisible, shielded by their extended families. "It has been too easy for government leaders to assume that the extended families will take on this burden," Bellamy said.

Child rights activist Graca Machel, who attended the launch of the report, reiterated the need for African governments to play a greater role.

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BURUNDI: Women wake up to HIV/AIDS

As the 10-year Burundian civil war winds down, Kinama township, set against the hills of the capital, Bujumbura, is once more becoming the bustling place it was. Women have inevitably borne the brunt of the conflict and are often forced into prostitution to stay alive.

In 1994, one year into the fighting between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups, Gloriosa Bamboneyeho fled her village in central Burundi to rejoin her husband, a security guard, in Bujumbura. Unknown to her, he had acquired a new wife and small child.

Three years ago Gloriosa fell sick - she was HIV-positive. "I didn't know that HIV existed until I came to Bujumbura," she told PlusNews.

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GLOBAL: AIDS treatment must adapt to poor communities, says MSF

AIDS treatment procedures must be demystified, simplified, and adapted to the needs of the world's poorest communities in order to be effective, according to the NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

"To scale up treatment on a large scale, we have to adapt treatment models to real life," Dr Morten Rostrup, President of MSF's International Council told reporters in Nairobi. "Adaptation means fewer pills per day, fewer lab tests and free treatment dispensed in the communities where people live, that is at district facilities and at community health posts."

Currently ARV treatment - consisting of two triple therapy pills per day - costs about US $270 per person per year, which is way beyond the reach of ordinary people.

MSF doctor, Earnest Nyamoto, said that for a long time people had believed ARV treatment was "complex, sophisticated and too technical" for poor and rural communities. Yet MSF is proving otherwise with its treatment of 1,200 people in Kenya, including in Nairobi's slum areas. "It can be done, we can get the patients on treatment," he said.

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LESOTHO: Stepping up HIV/AIDS efforts

Lesotho will soon launch a new body to coordinate HIV/AIDS programmes and place the epidemic at the top of the government's agenda.

After adopting a policy document to scale up the kingdom's response to the prevalence rate last month, the cabinet also agreed to the establishment of an autonomous National AIDS Commission (NAC) to spearhead the initiative.

NAC will replace the existing Lesotho AIDS Programme Coordinating Authority (LAPCA), which has been criticised for its slow pace in implementing prevention and treatment programmes.

"It was felt that LAPCA did not have enough influence to ensure that programmes move forward. They have also been plagued by inadequate staffing and have not been able to effectively carry out their mandate," Mojakisane Mathaha, UN Development Programme (UNDP) social policy planner told PlusNews.

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ETHIOPIA: Interview with UNAIDS head Bunmi Makinwa

Bunmi Makinwa is the newly appointed head of UNAIDS in Ethiopia. Here ahead of World AIDS Day he tells PlusNews that total mobilisation is needed to win the fight against the virus that has infected 2.2 million in Ethiopia.

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1. UNAIDS and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have created a tool to help the private sector find innovative HIV/AIDS partnership opportunities in developing countries. Known as the Partnership Menu, it provides potential donors with a list of HIV/AIDS projects they can sponsor at country level, ranging from youth-friendly health services to home-based care programmes, to education for orphans.

2. Soul Beat Africa is a web-based initiative focusing specifically on sharing information about using communication for change and development in Africa. It is a space to share experiences, materials, strategic thinking and events, and to engage in discussion and debate.

Through Soul Beat Africa, people and organisations are sharing information about how communication is being used to address such issues as HIV/AIDS, economic development, women's issues, youth, health, and the environment. Experiences in developing radio programmes, edutainment, drama, mass media campaigns, and a diverse range of communication programmes are summarised, always with contact information, helping to connect communicators across the continent. The project is a collaboration between Soul City and The Communication Initiative.

The Soul Beat, an e-newsletter based on the information summarised on the website, is published every other Wednesday. To subscribe email: or vist the online form:

3. The Global Fund for Women is an international network which advocates for and defends women's human rights by making grants to support women's groups around the world. The Global Fund makes grants to seed, support, and strengthen international women's rights groups working to address human rights issues.

4. The Regional AIDS Training Network (RATN) is a Network of training institutions in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region.

5. The Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative is a project designed to address the needs of orphaned children. This technical resource network brings together over 30 organisations in eastern and southern Africa and aims to offer psychosocial support to more than 25,000 children over the next five years.



Recent AFRICA Reports

HIV/AIDS awareness team set up for prisoners,  28/Jan/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 165, 23 January 2004,  23/Jan/04
Seminar to draw up draft bill on rights, obligations of HIV/AIDS patients,  22/Jan/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 164, 16 January 2004,  16/Jan/04
Are countries spending enough on HIV/AIDS?,  14/Jan/04


PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:


  • IRIN

  • Inter Press Service (IPS)



  • Health Systems Trust

  • Health & Development

  • GTZ/Afronets

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