HIV/AIDS sensitisation campaign yields positive results
Thursday 1 April 2004
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CONGO: HIV/AIDS sensitisation campaign yields positive results

BRAZZAVILLE, 5 December (PLUSNEWS) - A campaign spearheaded by the Thomas Sankara Pan-African Association to sensitise the residents of the Republic of Congo (ROC) capital, Brazzaville, to the HIV/AIDS pandemic has yielded satisfactory results, according to an official of the local NGO.

"Utilising focus groups, debates, and meetings in markets, streets and bars, we have sensitised on average 150 people each day to the danger HIV/AIDS poses to the individual, the nation and humanity," Souleymane Mohamed, a member of the campaign team, told PlusNews on Thursday.

To achieve this, he said, the group launched door-to-door campaigns to inform residents on the need to get vaccinated against polio, but used the opportunity also to inform them about HIV/AIDS. In this way more than 2,000 people were briefed on the dangers of the disease in just over 15 days.

Mohamed added, however, that "we have noticed that there is a lot more to do in terms of educating [the public] on AIDS". Many people, he said, still believed that AIDS did not exist and that they did need not worry about using condoms. "There should be even more of these grass-roots campaigns to achieve better results," he said.

During the 15-day campaign, financed by the UN Children's Fund, pamphlets on the disease and condoms were distributed. The campaign was launched under the theme "HIV/AIDS, human rights, and the need to fight the stigmatisation linked to the disease".

The Congo National Programme in the Fight against HIV reported the country’s prevalence rate as being 7 percent in 2001, thereby including the ROC among the worst-affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa and ranking it third in Central Africa after the Central African Republic (13.8 percent) and Cameroon (7.7 percent). The prevalence rate in 2000 in Brazzaville, was 5 percent, and 14.7 percent in Pointe-Noire, the country's second-largest city.

On World AIDS day – commemorated on Sunday – Congolese parliamentarians vowed to engage in the sensitisation campaign against AIDS. They also undertook to ensure that efforts to tackle HIV/AIDS featured in the government's plans and budget, and also to push for laws to protect and promote the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The parliamentarians called on the government to find urgent solutions to the problems affecting the acquisition of antiretroviral drugs; to include instruction on HIV/AIDS in school curriculums; to intensify sensitisation efforts targeting young people; and to develop dynamic partnerships with civil society and international organisations promoting associations of people living with HIV/AIDS.

The lawmakers also called on the government to provide the funds needed for drawing up a national plan to fight the disease and to appeal to international bodies to support the plan.

The parliamentarians adopted this stance during a debate organised by the UN Development Programme on 26 November on the role of the legislature in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

[ENDS]

 

Recent CONGO Reports

UN to provide ARVs for 1,000 HIV-positive people,  20/Oct/03
Media professionals create national HIV/AIDS awareness network,  29/Aug/03
Government launches national HIV/AIDS council,  25/Jul/03
Health minister urges increased efforts to fight illicit drugs,  26/Jun/03
Insufficient means to fight HIV/AIDS, says health minister,  1/May/03

Links

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
AEGIS
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

PARTNERS

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
    Network

  • GTZ/Afronets


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