Indiana Students, Kenyan Minister Wheel Anti-AIDS Message Around Kenya
Several students from Indiana University have joined Rev. Reuben Lubanga of Kenya in his campaign to educate rural Kenyans about AIDS by transporting a television, VCR, electric generator and gasoline between villages and showing a video on AIDS prevention to the local residents, the AP/Indianapolis Star reports. Lubanga's "one-man crusade to close the information gap about the AIDS epidemic threatening his homeland" began in 1996 with the materials transported by wheelbarrow, and became a two-man crusade two years later when IU student Hank Selke visited Kenya and offered to help Lubanga push his wheelbarrow. Both men shared information with approximately 4,000 villagers under a $150 budget. Back on campus, Selke and fellow student Philip Roessler started Outreach Kenya Development Volunteers, a small campus club that replaced the wheelbarrow with a used Isuzu Trooper and sent Selke, Roessler and three other IU students to Kenya to spread the prevention message with Lubanga to an additional 12,000 residents. Lubanga, who was expelled from the Anglican priesthood for his promotion of safe sex and later became an Episcopalian, acknowledges that political problems in each village and local cultural traditions often impede the comprehension of his education efforts, but he remains adamant in his efforts. "In Kenya, about 500 people die each day from AIDS. Two of eight Kenyan youths are HIV-positive. In the western province where I live, six out of 10 villagers are HIV positive, and 50% of patients in hospitals have HIV-related problems," he said. He notes that his efforts are inspired by the antiAIDS campaign in Uganda, where the rates of mortality from AIDS-related illnesses are falling (Horn, AP/Indianapolis Star, 10/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.