UN Volunteers funds NGO programme to sensitise Pygmies on HIV/AIDS
Thursday 22 April 2004
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CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: UN Volunteers funds NGO programme to sensitise Pygmies on HIV/AIDS

BANGUI, 23 March (PLUSNEWS) - The United Nations Volunteers programme (UNV) has financed a training programme, undertaken by an NGO in the Central African Republic (CAR), to sensitise the Batwa, or pygmies, on protection against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The UNV programme officer in the CAR, Amadou Diallo, told IRIN on Saturday that 53 pygmies took part in the US $1,000-training programme that was held from 17 to 20 March in the town of Pissa, 80 km southwest of the capital, Bangui.

The Organisation des Volontaires pour le Development en Centrafrique (OVDC) conducted the training in three centres - Bokanga, Banda and Sangala - where the pygmies learnt how to use male and female condoms as a means of protection against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

During the training, the UNV and the OVDC distributed cartons of condoms to the pygmies.

"I can now use a condom correctly, although it reduces pleasure," Henri Yenda, the 35 year old chief of Bokanga village, told IRIN on Saturday. "I'll keep using it, I have to protect myself."

Some 450 pygmies live in Pissa, according to a population census carried out in the CAR from 8 to 22 December 2003. The pygmies are minority group and risk being wiped out if HIV/AIDS spreads among them.

"As part of our agenda, we visited the Beka pygmies of Pissa and found out that they were totally ignorant of HIV/AIDS," Catherine Kezza, the OVDC coordinator, said.

She added that only one HIV-AIDS-related death, that of a young pygmy woman, was reported a few months ago in village of Bimo in Pissa.

The CAR is among the most HIV/AIDS-affected African countries, with 15 percent of its population affected.

Several HIV/AIDS sensitisation programmes have been carried out in Bangui and in some provinces but the pygmies were not part of the target groups. The OVDC's programme was the first time that an NGO, supported by the UNV, sensitised the Pissa pygmies on the HIV/AIDS pandemic as well as other STDs.

[ENDS]

Recent CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC Reports

HIV/AIDS awareness team set up for prisoners, 28/Jan/04
Seminar to draw up draft bill on rights, obligations of HIV/AIDS patients, 22/Jan/04
UN agency identifies sites for HIV/AIDS centres, 15/Dec/03
20 doctors receive instruction on anti-HIV drug prescription, 16/Oct/03
WFP distributes food to health centres, HIV-infected, 3/Sep/03

Links

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
AEGIS
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
International HIV/AIDS Alliance

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

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

  • UNAIDS

  • IRIN

  • Inter Press Service (IPS)

  • SAfAIDS

  • PANOS

  • Health Systems Trust

  • Health & Development
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  • GTZ/Afronets


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