IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 170, 27 February 2004
Thursday 22 April 2004
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 170, 27 February 2004


SOUTH AFRICA: Paramedics protest "condom" memo
SOUTH AFRICA: ARV drug rollout urgently needed, says lobby group
BURKINA FASO: Government urges traditional healers to help tackle HIV/AIDS
TANZANIA: Youth air their concerns in Tanzania


1. ACHAP Partnerships for an AIDS-Free Generation
2. Women, Children and HIV: Resources for prevention and treatment
3. YouthHIV
4. KZN AIDS Link



SOUTH AFRICA: Paramedics protest "condom" memo

Paramedics in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province voiced their outrage this week after receiving an internal memorandum urging female staff members on night duty to wear condoms.

The memorandum, issued by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, followed a spate of ambulance hijackings in the area, during one of which a female paramedic was raped last week.

A provincial newspaper, The Mercury, said police had confirmed that four accused between the ages of 21 and 23 had been remanded in custody in connection with the crime.

According to the memorandum, any crew needing an escort should phone the emergency police service number, put cellular phones on silent mode and keep them where they would not be visible, and paramedics - especially women on the night shift - should wear condoms, which would be issued to them.

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SOUTH AFRICA: ARV drug rollout urgently needed, says lobby group

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa's vocal AIDS lobby group, on Tuesday offered to work with the government to ensure the urgent rollout of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to people living with HIV.

"We want to work with the government at every level to save lives, to make sure that people get treatment and care," TAC spokesperson Mark Heywood said at a public meeting of stakeholders at Johannesburg City Hall.

"We request a discussion with you outside of this meeting today, so that you can tell us what we can do to make it a reality," he told the members of government attending.

The government's "Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care", agreed by cabinet in November last year, aims at preventing over 1.5 million AIDS deaths by 2008 by providing free ARV drugs through the public health system.

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BURKINA FASO: Government urges traditional healers to help tackle HIV/AIDS

The government of Burkina Faso has urged traditional healers in West Africa to collaborate with scientific researchers in the fight against HIV/AIDS by using herbal treatments to address AIDS-related illnesses such as tuberculosis and diarrhoea.

Jean Gabriel Wango, secretary general of the Ministry of Health, made the appeal on Monday in the capital, Ouagadougou, at the opening of a week-long international exhibition of traditional medicines.

"There is no doubt that traditional herbs can be used to cure some infectious diseases related to HIV/AIDS, but we need a scientific validation of these herbs' properties before using them on a larger scale," he said.

The fourth International Traditional Medicine Show (SIRENA) in Ouagadougou has brought together traditional healers from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Togo, Benin, France and China under the theme "Traditional medicine, a possible way to combat HIV/AIDS".

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TANZANIA: Youth air their concerns in Tanzania

In the brightly lit television studio in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, producers issued last-minute instructions to cameramen, make-up artists applied final touches to the guests and the presenter scribbled a few final lines on her notes before the cameras rolled.

Over the next hour or so, once the talk show guests overcame their initial fear of the camera, the debate began in earnest. The show was one of a series organised by Femina, a multimedia HIV/AIDS communication initiative targeting the youth, run by the Health Information Project. The day's subject was "Controlling Your Sexual Desire" and the six guests, aged 16 to 30 years, disagreed on which gender bore the responsibility for control.

"I know I should, but I can't always control myself. Taking alcohol doesn't help, I have to say," said Respicki Msoka early in the discussion.

However, Ziberi Bakari said as it was often the man who made the first move, it was he who had ultimate control over sex. Hamisi Hidja, a street hawker, sitting next to him on a sofa that resembled an enormous pair of lips, disagreed.

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1. ACHAP Partnerships for an AIDS-Free Generation

The African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships (ACHAP) was established to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS in Botswana. ACHAP supports the goals of the Government of Botswana to decrease HIV incidence, and significantly increase the rate of diagnosis and treatment of the disease by rapidly advancing prevention programmes, health care access, patient management and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

ACHAP is a collaboration between the government of Botswana, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Merck Company Foundation.

2. Women, Children and HIV

Women, Children, and HIV contains a library of practically applicable materials on mother and child HIV infection including preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission, infant feeding, clinical care of women, children living with HIV and the support of orphans.

3. YouthHIV

YouthHIV is a website created by and for HIV-positive youth and HIV peer educators. The purpose is to provide a safe and effective website offering sexual and mental health information, community support, opportunities for advocacy, resources and referrals, and online peer education.

4. KZN AIDS Link

This website exists to serve the needs of all individuals, groups and communities involved in non-profit HIV/AIDS work in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Our purpose is to promote the exchange of ideas, information and experiences, and to encourage networking among members.


Recent AFRICA Reports

ARV rollout set to begin in Eastern Cape, 22/Apr/04
Food security through the lens of HIV/AIDS, 16/Apr/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 177, 16 April 2004, 16/Apr/04
Five NGOs to receive USAID grants for HIV/AIDS programmes, 14/Apr/04
HIV/AIDS threatens to undermine democracy, 9/Apr/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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