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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 254, 7 October 2005

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


NIGERIA: Children orphaned by AIDS slipping through the cracks
COTE D'IVOIRE: Truckers in volatile west are taking more HIV/AIDS precautions
KENYA: Caring for Nairobi's HIV-positive orphans
NAMIBIA: Action plan for local authorities
SENEGAL: Despite awareness campaigns, young people are reluctant to get HIV tested
TANZANIA: Referral hospital gets modern HIV/AIDS centre


Beyond the Borders of HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies


NIGERIA: Children orphaned by AIDS slipping through the cracks

Five-year-old Fati could barely hold back her tears. This little girl who loves going to school had just been sent home. Like the other three kids turned away at the gates on the first day of classes, Fati is HIV-positive and has been orphaned by AIDS.

Her head low, her uniform not quite hiding a stomach swollen from the antiretroviral (ARV) drugs she's been taking for a year, Fati, which is not her real name, clung to Cathryn Barrera, director of Mother's Welfare Group (MWG).

"This is the worst thing that people could have done to her," said this woman who moved to Nigeria 30 years ago and whom the children call "Grandma".

"When Fati came to us last year, we didn't think she'd make it. Her heart stopped several times. It's a miracle she's still alive and now they're sending her home from school because her belly's too big," she exclaimed, taking the little girl into her lap.

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COTE D IVOIRE: Truckers in volatile west are taking more HIV/AIDS precautions

Whether they're buying condoms by the roadside or abstaining from sex altogether, truckers in Cote d'Ivoire's war-ravaged 'Wild West' are becoming more cautious about HIV/AIDS, according to the Ivorian Red Cross.

"Studies over the last few months show that truckers are using condoms," said Francois Tia, president of the Ivorian Red Cross in Man, 400 km north northwest of the main city, Abidjan. "According to warehouse managers, shops near major truck stops are buying more and more condoms."

Since 2003 the Red Cross has been teaching truckers about the dangers of HIV/AIDS in Cote d'Ivoire, where UNAIDS estimates that upwards of seven percent of adults are HIV positive - the highest infection rate in West Africa.

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KENYA: Caring for Nairobi's HIV-positive orphans

The six young children sitting down to lunch at Nyumbani Children's Home in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, looked as healthy as any other children of their age.

There were all, however, children who had been abandoned at birth by their parents because they were HIV-positive.

"The children are abandoned because of the stigma attached to the HI virus. Members of the family are often unwilling to help when children are orphaned by AIDS," Sister Mary Owens, deputy director of Nyumbani, told a group of visitors from British Airways, one of the home's partners, on Monday.

Nyumbani, meaning "home" in Kiswahili, was opened in 1992 with the specific aim of caring for HIV-positive orphans who are abandoned by their parents or orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

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NAMIBIA: Action plan for local authorities

Namibian municipalities are drafting action plans to strengthen community responses to tackling the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

To assist the process, an assessment and strategic planning toolkit was launched by the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa (AMICAALL) at a local authorities conference in Windhoek last week.

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SENEGAL: Despite awareness campaigns, young people are reluctant to get HIV tested

Sitting in a classroom and wearing a shirt, tie and perfectly polished shoes, Lamine, a computer science student in Senegal's capital city, admits he has no idea whether or not he is HIV-positive.

"I've never been tested and I don't think I'll do it anytime soon," said the 25-year-old Dakar resident. "I'd rather not know. I want to live happily and not have to worry about getting AIDS."

While the majority of Senegalese who were tested for HIV in 2004 were under 25, the total number of people screened was a measly 3,500, according to the Ministry of Youth.

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TANZANIA: Referral hospital gets modern HIV/AIDS centre

A US $35-million HIV/AIDS treatment centre opened on Thursday at Tanzania's main referral hospital, the Muhimbili National Hospital, with a capacity to process up to 1,000 tests in an hour.

The centre, equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, was built under a partnership between the government of Tanzania and Abbot Fund, a global health care company devoted to the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of pharmaceuticals and medical products.

Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who officiated at the centre's inauguration, described it a huge step forward in the campaign against the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is ravaging mostly sub-Sahara Africa.

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Dear Diary,

My stay in Zambia made me realise that the HIV/AIDS situation is not much different, except that in South Africa there are more resources for addressing the pandemic.

Then why, even in the face of financial adversity, does Zambia seem to demonstrate so much more commitment to tackling AIDS than my own country?

A trip to Chawama Health Centre, a public facility south of the capital, Lusaka, answered this question.


Recent AFRICA Reports
Govt adopts more focused approach to help orphans,  21/Feb/06
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 271, 17 February 2006,  17/Feb/06
Armed forces to tackle impact of HIV/AIDS,  13/Feb/06
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 270, 10 February 2006,  10/Feb/06
Year in Review 2005 - Uneven progress in treatment provision,  3/Feb/06
· AIDS Media Center
· The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
· International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS
· International HIV/AIDS Alliance

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

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