IFRC, WHO, Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service Launch Program To Fight Epidemic in Region
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service and the World Health Organization recently launched a five-year program to fight HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, VOA News reports (De Capua, VOA News, 10/2). The program plans to focus on increasing HIV prevention education among groups most at risk of contracting the virus, boosting home-based care programs started by IFRC community-based volunteers in the region and providing support to about 225,000 children who have lost one or both parents to an AIDS-related illness (IFRC release, 10/2). WHO official Evelyn Isaacs said the program will provide the "Prevention Treatment Care and Support Training Package for Community Volunteers," which has proven effective in many countries. The training package will be re-evaluated annually and should substantially improve quality of care given to HIV-positive people in the region, SAFAIDS Deputy Director Sara Page said (Mwakalyelye, VOA News, 10/2). The program also aims to increase access to prevention messages and the latest technologies and treatments to fight the epidemic, Mukesh Kapila, IFRC special representative for HIV/AIDS, said. "[T]his problem cannot be solved by just sitting in coordination meetings and conference calls," Kapila said, adding, "[W]e have our volunteers present in every community in the region. We don't have to come in from outside. We are there already." According to IFRC estimates, 11 million HIV-positive people live in southern Africa, including about 500,000 children (VOA News, 10/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.