VSO Recruits HIV/AIDS Health Care Professionals to Volunteer in Africa
International development charity VSO yesterday launched a recruitment campaign in London to solicit health professionals to join "the fight against HIV" in Africa, BBC News reports. The campaign aims to "alert" HIV/AIDS professionals, health educators and community nurses of the "urgent need for their skills." Currently, 85% of HIV-related health placements are unfilled, with the demand for volunteers tripling in the first four months of 2001. VSO said that the need for volunteers is "desperate, particularly in rural areas where there is little or no access to health education and where the virus remains a taboo subject." BBC reports that health care volunteers can "help break these taboos" by "influencing community leaders and traditional practitioners." Cathy Brown, head of health recruitment for VSO, said, "As each day passes the crisis gets worse," adding, "AIDS undermines every other area of development VSO is involved in -- it is quite simply the most urgent crisis we have ever had to face. If you are a health professional, there will never be a more crucial time for you to use your skills." The charity is exploring ways to make volunteer positions "more attractive," such as offering postings for entire families. The current lack of health volunteers "goes against the general trend at VSO," which has supplied "record numbers" of workers over the last two years (BBC News, 5/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.