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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 150, 10 October 2003

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


RWANDA: Focus on genocide widows dying of HIV/AIDS
NIGER: Traditional chiefs agree to spread HIV/AIDS messages
NAMIBIA: NGO begins basic food distributions in ongoing drought
SWAZILAND: Conference offers solutions to impact of AIDS on education
SWAZILAND: Aid focus shifts to mitigate impact of HIV/AIDS
DRC: Police, military resolve to tackle HIV/AIDS
TANZANIA: US donates $1.5m to UNICEF for refugee work


1. Keeping a Child Alive
2. Health Information and Libraries in Africa
3. Horizons Research Project
4. Hope for African Children Initiative
5. Botswana online awareness campaign


RWANDA: Focus on genocide widows dying of HIV/AIDS

Mediatrice Ilibagiza, 38, is a widow and mother of three who, like thousands other Rwandan women, lost her husband during Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

She was also among the hundreds of women who were raped by Hutu militiamen, known as the Interahamwe, and soldiers of the old army, the Forces armees rwandaises, leaving her infected with HIV/AIDS.

Tutsi women were the main targets of the militia assault that used AIDS as a genocidal weapon, according to Hiraly Mukamazimpaka, the national coordinator of Avega Aghozo.

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NIGER: Traditional chiefs agree to spread HIV/AIDS messages

The 30 traditional chiefs, dressed in bright-coloured gowns or "boubous" and turbans that covered all but their noses and eyes, came to the northern Niger town of In Gall, over 1,000 km from the capital, Niamey, to attend a festival.

As the festivities inched towards the climax, the chiefs set aside time for a seminar on HIV/AIDS presented by a female doctor, Hama Bilkisa. They took notes and watched the slide presentation on the hard facts of the disease in the local Tamachek language.

The seminar was organised by the UN Children's Fund, UNICEF, to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS among the chiefs, on the occasion of the Cure Salee or "Salt Cure" festival - an annual celebration for the nomadic tribes of northern Niger.

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NAMIBIA: NGO begins basic food distributions in ongoing drought

Catholic AIDS Action is to begin distributing rations of fortified E-Pap and maize meal to people affected by HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Namibia, the group told PlusNews on Tuesday.

Martin Zee Albert, logistics coordinator with Catholic AIDS Action, told PlusNews a donation from the US-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS) had made the intervention possible.

Albert told PlusNews that the Catholic AIDS Action intervention would specifically target "people registered with our organisation, OVCs, as well as volunteers" working for the NGO.

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SWAZILAND: Conference offers solutions to impact of AIDS on education

At the end of a week-long conference in Swaziland, African educators and US representatives called for further cooperation between the private and public sectors in the fight against HIV/AIDS in schools.

"We are analysing what works, and stressing innovation and proven successes over formulae," Behuel Ndlovu, director of secondary schools for the Swaziland Ministry of Education, told PlusNews.

"For AIDS mitigation to be achieved through improved education in Africa, partnerships have to be forged between Western and African nations, between the public and private sectors, and between civil society and governments," said Colette Cowey, an expert on global development issues.

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SWAZILAND: Aid focus shifts to mitigate impact of HIV/AIDS

The impact of HIV/AIDS on Swaziland's agricultural production has forced aid agencies to adjust their programming in a bid to mitigate the effects on food security.

"Food shortages in Swaziland are compounded by the country's high HIV/AIDS adult prevalence rate, and it is therefore essential that the special nutritional needs of vulnerable people are met," said Angela Van Rynbach, World Food Programme (WFP) Country Representative.

"I think it's clear to everybody by now that you can't separate food from AIDS," added Sarah Laughton, WFP Emergency Coordinator in Swaziland.

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DRC: Police, military resolve to tackle HIV/AIDS

Committees to lead the fight against HIV/AIDS have been created in the national army and police force of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following a seminar to inform officers on the pandemic, a government official told PlusNews last week.

The seminar on HIV/AIDS was held at the end of September at the Binza Ozone Military Centre in the capital, Kinshasa. It was geared towards members of the military and police, owing to their living and work conditions, which often contribute to sexually promiscuous behaviour.

"Military and police authorities came to understand the threat of HIV/AIDS, and resolved to immediately join the fight," military physician Col Kabanda told PlusNews.

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TANZANIA: US donates $1.5m to UNICEF for refugee work

The US government has given the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) a $1.5 million grant for humanitarian work in Tanzania, the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam announced on Thursday.

UNICEF will spend the money on programmes in refugee camps in western Tanzania, where an estimated 400,000 people - who have fled conflicts in neighbouring Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo - are living.

In a statement, the US Embassy said $1 million would be spent on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and the remaining $500,000 to support refugee education.

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1. Keep A Child Alive is a campaign dedicated to providing medication to children and families with HIV/AIDS. Keep A Child Alive offers visitors to its website an opportunity to sponsor this treatment - and save a life - for less than a dollar a day.

2. The Association for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) is a point of contact where a wide range of health professionals meet. The target audience is health care and biomedical librarians, documentalists, journalists and others involved in the management and dissemination of medical and health-related information.

3. Horizons is a global research project designed to identify components of effective HIV/AIDS programmes and policies, test potential solutions to problems in prevention, care, support and service delivery.

4. The Hope for African Children Initiative is a community-based, pan-African effort created to address the challenges faced by children who have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Africa, and those whose parents are sick or dying of AIDS-related illnesses.

5. AIDS.Edumela is a website aimed at providing information on the HIV/AIDS situation in Botswana and other parts of Southern Africa. Their page "About Condoms" contains user contributions about the use of condoms and other issues related to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Botswana.


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 276, 24 March 2006,  24/Mar/06
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 275, 17 March 2006,  17/Mar/06
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 274, 10 March 2006,  10/Mar/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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