IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 159, 12 December 2003
Wednesday 10 March 2004


East Africa
Great Lakes
Horn of Africa
Southern Africa
·South Africa
West Africa


Country Profiles
Conferences / Research
Job opportunities

News Briefs

SOUTH AFRICA: Health department allays HIV infection fears
SOUTH AFRICA: AIDS activists threaten court action
LESOTHO: Prime Minister publicly tested for HIV
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 159, 12 December 2003


ZAMBIA: Getting girls back into school
SWAZILAND: Community provides "shoulders to cry on"
SOUTH AFRICA: Court ruling favours children orphaned by AIDS
NAMIBIA: PWAs hopeful about treatment programme
ANGOLA: Irish NGO calls for increased AIDS prevention
ETHIOPIA: Tackling HIV/AIDS through music


1. New C-Safe Website
2. New Youth Newsletter
3. Women and Children and HIV



ZAMBIA: Getting girls back into school

Zambian girls are defying traditional barriers, teenage pregnancy and the risk of HIV infection to go back to school to finish their education.

They are doing this despite the findings of a new report that girls in sub-Saharan Africa face the highest school drop-out rate in the world, with up to 83 percent of all girls who no longer attend school living in the region.

"The State of the World's Children", released on Thursday by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), found that the number of girls in sub-Saharan Africa who had left school before completing their education rose from 20 million in 1990 to 24 million in 2002.

But the report also lists the Programme for the Advancement of Girls' Education (PAGE), a collaboration between the Zambian government and UNICEF, as an example of the type of action required by governments and the international community to reverse the trend.

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SWAZILAND: Community provides "shoulders to cry on"

A legion of volunteer community activists in Swaziland are identifying orphans and vulnerable children - many of them affected by AIDS - and seeing to their nutritional, medical, educational and psychological needs.

"The community worker is called 'lihlombe lekukhalela', which means 'shoulder to cry on'. They are the person who children know they can go to for assistance. They can tell their troubles to this person, and find help," Ezrome Magagula, the community volunteer coordinator for the Deputy Prime Minister's Office, told PlusNews.

The number of orphaned and vulnerable children as a result of AIDS is on the rise, according to the latest report from the National Emergency Response Committee on HIV/AIDS (NERCHA). Out of a national population of approximately 950,000, an estimated 120,000 children under 15 will have lost both parents to AIDS by 2010, up from an earlier projection of 110,000.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Court ruling favours children orphaned by AIDS

Orphaned HIV-positive children in South Africa will be able to access antiretroviral (ARV) treatment more easily after a High Court ruled that permission for such an intervention can now be granted by their caregivers.

The decision made by the Johannesburg High Court last week was limited to three "paediatrician working groups" in Johannesburg, the country's economic hub, attorney Liezl Gernholtz of the AIDS Law Project (ALP) told PlusNews.

The court ruled in favour of an application made by the ALP and groups of paediatricians working in Chris Hani Baragwanath, Coronation and Johannesburg General hospitals, who challenged existing legislation that prevented orphaned HIV-infected children from receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

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NAMIBIA: PWAs hopeful about treatment programme

Plans to provide anti-AIDS drugs to HIV-positive Namibians are slowly taking shape, but the pace of implementing the government's treatment programme is still cause for concern, activists told PlusNews.

"Things are happening, but not at the pace we want; treatment is being rolled out, but it is still not country-wide," said Conny Samaria, advocacy manager for Lironga Eparu, an NGO assisting people living with HIV/AIDS.

After announcing it had budgeted US $10.9 million for the purchase of ARVs in April this year, the health department began providing the medication in 5 hospitals across the country in Windhoek, Rundu, Oshakati and Walvis Bay.

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ANGOLA: Irish NGO calls for increased AIDS prevention

The voluntary counselling and HIV testing clinic run by the Irish development agency, GOAL, in Angola's capital, Luanda, is always busy. The simple chairs in the waiting room are occupied by people from all walks of life.

Dr Eduardo Fulai, the supervisor at the clinic, has heard the same story dozens of times from people coming to be tested.

"A typical scenario is that a boy comes in and says he had a girlfriend, but left her for another. He had learnt that his former girl was having sex with other boys during their time together. Now he has got a 'condition' in his penis. He is very bothered by the situation and is afraid that she has infected him with HIV," Fulai told PlusNews.

GOAL has found that between five and 10 percent of people who undergo the test are HIV-positive.

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ETHIOPIA: Tackling HIV/AIDS through music

Some of Ethiopia’s best-known musicians have released a song to fight widespread stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS.

The eight singers, who are among the country’s best-known vocalists, collaborated to produce the hit which is currently being broadcast on radio and television.

The song - called Compassion in Modernity - was composed by well-known Ethiopian poet Nebiy Mekonnen. "The singers feel that they have done nothing so far against AIDS," said Assafa Gosaye of Admass Advertising who produced the song and music video.

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1. C-SAFE, the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Security Emergency, has launched its newly designed website with easy-to-use, in-depth country information on the most severe food security crisis to hit the region.

The consortium is led by three international NGOs – Word Vision, CARE and Catholic Relief Services - with an additional six members in Malawi (Africare, Save the Children US, Save the Children UK, American Red Cross, Emmanuel International and the Salvation Army), and one member in Zambia (ADRA). The consortium operates in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

In addition to situation reports, news from the field, and related sites to the ongoing emergency, the C-SAFE website contains information on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

2. YouthNet, Family Health International's global youth programme, has launched Youth InfoNet, a one-stop monthly source of new publications and information on youth reproductive health and HIV prevention. The newsletter is divided into two sections:
- Summaries of innovative programme resources
- Summaries of recent research articles.

Submissions and ideas for the newsletter are welcomed. For more information on subscriptions to Youth InfoNet (and other electronic notices of YouthNet publications and information), or to propose submissions to the newsletter, send an email to:

The first issue of Youth InfoNet is available at:

3. Analysis of HIV/AIDS in Uganda. This site contains a library of practically applicable materials on mother and child HIV infection, including preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT), infant feeding, clinical care of women and children living with HIV, and the support of orphans. The goal of the site is to contribute to an improvement in international HIV/AIDS prevention, care, and treatment programmes for women and children, by increasing access to authoritative HIV/AIDS information.



Recent AFRICA Reports

Global Fund calls for bold proposals,  5/Mar/04
PlusNews Web Special - Gender and HIV/AIDS,  5/Mar/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 171, 5 March 2004,  5/Mar/04
Anti-HIV programme fails rape victims,  4/Mar/04
Mobile clinic provide sex workers with health care,  4/Mar/04


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

  • GTZ/Afronets

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