West African Countries To Ease Border Restrictions To Fight Spread of HIV
Five West African countries have agreed to ease travel restrictions across their borders in an effort to curb the spread of HIV among migrants and residents who live along the route, VOA News reports. The countries are Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo, all of which are part of World Bank's HIV/AIDS Project for Abidjan-Lagos Transport Corridor. Travelers along the route -- which stretches from Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, to Nigeria -- have to cross several borders and checkpoints, which can lead to long delays in border towns, VOA News reports. According to the transport corridor project, these delays are contributing to the spread of HIV because truck drivers and other travelers often visit commercial sex workers and other local residents when staying in border towns. There is an established connection between the time people spend traveling the route and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, project head Justin Koffi said. Delegates from the five countries have agreed to reduce the number of checkpoints along the route in half by the end of 2006, and they also want to reduce the time it takes to cross a border, according to VOA News. Fourteen million people travel through the corridor annually, and 30 million people live along the route, VOA News reports (Dovi, VOA News, 11/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.