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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 204, 22 October 2004
Wednesday 3 November 2004
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 204, 22 October 2004

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


GABON: Female condoms subsidised, but not widely advertised
SOUTHERN AFRICA: WFP asks for US $404 million to aid 1.5 million people
KENYA: Impoverished community receives HIV/AIDS care
ERITREA: Gov't says HIV prevalence stabilising
UGANDA: HIV/AIDS training institute opened
ZIMBABWE: Rural dwellers shun VCT centres


Previously eyes-wide-shut on HIV and religion

Dear Diary

I am amazed at how an isolated incident can influence a person's perception of things.

Take my baptism. At the age of eleven when a preacher almost drowned me, I vowed never to see the inside of a church again.

But as more of my mostly Christian relatives and close friends succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses over the years, I was forced to reconsider my fear of the church.

So, too, was I forced recently to reconsider my fear of all things Muslim. And it is with wide-eyed admiration that my perception of the Muslim community changed for the better.


1. I-TECH - internet-based HIV/AIDS training resource database



GABON: Female condoms subsidised, but not widely advertised

A sharp cut in the price of female condoms should promote their use in Gabon, one of the Central African countries most affected by HIV/AIDS, medical workers said.

In September 2003 the Gabonese Movement for Family Welfare (MGBEF), a local non-governmental organisation, began selling female condoms to women for just 100 CFA (20 US cents), a fraction of their price in commercial pharmacies.

The MGBEF provides low-priced prenatal medical care, birth control advice and medical checkups at a clinic in the capital Libreville.

More details

SOUTHERN AFRICA: WFP asks for US $404 million to aid 1.5 million people

The World Food Programme on Thursday launched an appeal for US $404 million to support a monthly average of 1.5 million people in five southern African countries affected by food shortages, high HIV/AIDS rates and weakened capacity for governance.

The operation, expected to run for three years, needs US $63 million immediately to help people survive the 'hunger season' in the first quarter of next year, the UN agency said. Families and individuals vulnerable to food insecurity and HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia are to be targeted by the intervention.

"The media spotlight may have moved elsewhere, but the people of southern Africa will carry the scars of the last few years for generations to come," WFP's Regional Director for Southern Africa, Mike Sackett, said in a statement.

More details

KENYA: Impoverished community receives HIV/AIDS care

Residents of Kibera, a slum in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, are set to benefit from the launch on Thursday of a new health centre that will provide treatment for HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.

Kibera South Health Centre, a joint initiative by Kenya's Ministry of Health and the international NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), will be the first to give residents direct access to comprehensive public healthcare.

MSF said it aimed to demonstrate through this project that a full package of quality healthcare, integrating HIV and AIDS treatment, could successfully be provided in an urban slum setting.

More details

ERITREA: Gov't says HIV prevalence stabilising

The HIV prevalence in Eritrea has shown a slight decline over the past few years and appears to have stabilised, with survey results showing that the unweighted national prevalence rate has fallen from 2.8 percent in 2001 to 2.4 percent last year, a government official told PlusNews on Tuesday.

"We have adopted a multi-sectoral approach to prevention that involves communities, the private sector, United Nations agencies and other bilateral organizations," Andeberhan Tesfazion, the director of the Eritrean National HIV/AIDS/STI and TB Control Divison (NATCoD) said. "Every partner is guided by the national plan."

According to the findings of an HIV surveillance report conducted by the Ministry of Health in all six zones of Eritrea between April and July 2003, prevalence rates were highest in the Southern Red Sea (7.2 percent) and Maekel (3.6 percent) zones. It said women aged 20 to 24 and 25 to 29 years had higher-than-average rates of infection, and prevalence was higher among pregnant women in urban areas than those in rural areas.

More details

UGANDA: HIV/AIDS training institute opened

One of the largest HIV/AIDS training centres in Africa has been opened in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. The institute is designed to treat people suffering from AIDS and train more than 250 health professionals annually on how best to care for those infected with HIV.

Pfizer, one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, funds the Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), which cost US $15 million to build.

"The Infectious Disease Institute marks a dramatic advance in addressing the public health needs of sub-Saharan Africa," said Hank McKinnell, Pfizer's chief executive, during the official inauguration of the centre on Wednesday. The centre started receiving patients in April.

More details

ZIMBABWE: Rural dwellers shun VCT centres

Few rural Zimbabweans are using the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) centres, according to the latest Zimbabwe Human Development Report.

The US-based NGO, Pact, recorded only 50 to 108 visitors a month at two of its VCT centres located at the Regina Coelli Mission in Manicaland province and the St Theresa's Mission in Masvingo province.

"To go for testing takes courage - a person's perception of their risk to exposure is what drives them. If we get 100 in one month, that's great," Choice Makufa, director of Pact told PlusNews.

More details


1. I-TECH - internet-based HIV/AIDS training resource database

A major barrier to accessing care for people living with HIV/AIDS in resource-limited settings and the lack of trained healthcare providers has been eased with the launch of this database.

It is a compilation of clinical training materials from the US Health Resources and Services Administration HIV/AIDS Bureau, the CDC, the World Health Organisation and other partners of UNAIDS, plus over 300 other organisations from around the world.

I-TECH will continue to update the database with new materials.


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 205, 29 October 2004,  29/Oct/04
Reducing HIV risk in breastfeeding,  27/Oct/04
Increased need for counselling services,  26/Oct/04
WFP asks for US $404 million to aid 1.5 million people,  21/Oct/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 203, 15 October 2004,  15/Oct/04
Sida Info Services
Le Fonds mondial de lutte contre le SIDA, la tuberculose et le paludisme
Le Réseau Afrique 2000

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

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