Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Heifer International Adds HIV/AIDS Education Component to Its African Programs
Heifer International, a Little Rock, Ark.-based charity that provides hungry families with livestock for use as a food source and a means of self-sufficiency, will add an HIV/AIDS component to all of its African programs, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. The three-year, $1 million initiative, formulated with the help of AIDS expert Dr. Japheth Mati of Nairobi, Kenya, will focus on education, especially for pregnant women and mothers who may transmit HIV to their children through childbirth or breastfeeding. The program will study the feasibility of substituting goat's milk for breastmilk to prevent vertical HIV transmission, and it also seeks to improve the nutritional status of those living with HIV/AIDS, particularly for parents whose deaths would leave their orphaned children without caregivers. "Hunger and poverty will make AIDS worse. That is really the key to our role in the effort," Heifer spokesperson Ray White said. Heifer began investigating such action last year after it realized that many staff members were dying or missing work due to AIDS-related problems. Barry Colley, Heifer's Africa program director, noted that in Zimbabwe, "they had to develop a new funeral policy because staff was missing so much work to go to funerals." Some Heifer projects have already begun adding an HIV/AIDS education component, and if the initiative is successful, it could be used as a model for Heifer programs in other parts of the world (Gelder, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 3/19).
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