Red Cross stresses volunteer role in tackling HIV/AIDS
Sunday 22 August 2004
Home About PlusNews Country Profiles News Briefs Special Reports Subscribe Archive IRINnews


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
West Africa


PlusNews E-mail Subscription

EAST AFRICA: Red Cross stresses volunteer role in tackling HIV/AIDS

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

NAIROBI, 21 December (PLUSNEWS) - Red Cross and Red Crescent society members and public health campaigners at a regional meeting in Kenya have called for a significant increase in activities to counteract the HIV/AIDS pandemic in eastern Africa, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported on Thursday.

Participants from the national Red Cross societies of Kenya, Madagascar and Rwanda, members of a Regional Task Force on HIV/AIDS, also agreed that "no significant scaling up of health activities can take place without better volunteer management" of national societies if the Red Cross movement is to successfully fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

"Now it's time to deliver", Appolinaire Karamaga from the Rwandan Red Cross told delegates at the HIV/AIDS task force meeting in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Several national societies in eastern Africa have been working on guidelines that would help them not only recruit more volunteers but also retain their volunteers longer, in an effort to address HIV/AIDS and other humanitarian concerns of the Red Cross movement, the Federation reported.

The new guidelines contain a series of measures, such as better job descriptions, clearly defined tasks, long-term prospects, training plans and different methods of recognition.

"Above all, we must learn from one another," said Francoise Randriamiharisoa from the Malagasy Red Cross.

Successful work by Red Cross volunteers, such as November's mass measles immunisation campaign in Uganda, were also shared among the group.

The Uganda Red Cross Society, through its network of over 1,300 volunteers, was involved in educating local communities on the need for vaccination and in mobilising parents to make their children available for immunisation during the 10-11 Ugandan campaign.

For more details, go to

Special efforts had been made during education campaigns to overcome traditional opposition to immunisation in both rural and urban areas. In Mbarara District, southwestern Uganda, the Red Cross Society had been vital to countering rumours that the vaccine could cause illness, rather than prevent it, Alice Uwase, acting Secretary-General of the Uganda Red Cross told IRIN.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) - who carried out the campaign jointly with the Ugandan Ministry of Health, UNICEF and the Red Cross movement - said November's mass immunisation in Uganda would prevent over 15,000 childhood deaths over the next three years.

Building on such successes in general, and especially to help tackle HIV/AIDS, was the particular focus of the Nairobi meeting.

"We have to take advantage of the new momentum gained during this second regional task force meeting", said Dr Mustapha Bashir, President of the Sudanese Red Crescent and a member of the Federation's Health Commission.


Recent EAST AFRICA Reports
Firms ignoring threat of HIV/AIDS on employees, says study, 11/Feb/04
Competition launched to counter HIV/AIDS stigma, 8/May/03
Feature - Traditional culture spreading HIV/AIDS, 28/Mar/03
IFRC explores health, politics, partnership, 3/Jun/02
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.


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 Networks
  • GTZ/Afronets

[Back] [Home Page]

Click to send any feedback, comments or questions you have about IRIN's Website or if you prefer you can send an Email to

The material contained on this Web site comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. All graphics and Images on this site may not be re-produced without the express permission of the original owner. All materials copyright UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004