China, UNDP To Launch Three-Year Project Aimed at Mobile Populations
The United Nations Development Programme and China's National Population and Family Planning Commission are collaborating on a three-year project that aims to curb the spread of HIV among mobile populations along the country's northern border, China Daily reports. According to Ru Xiaomei, deputy director-general of the commission, mobile and migrant populations "represent a serious challenge to the future success in combating the spread of HIV." Ru said that four major border crossings and their surrounding areas -- Heihe in Heilongjiang province, Yanji in Jilin province, Erenhot in the Inner Mongolia region and Huo'erguosi in the Xinjiang region -- are included in the project.
According to Ru, there are few "migrant friendly" support services in these areas, even though cross-border migration and population mobility are increasing because of escalated economic cooperation. She added that mobile populations often have limited access to health resources and other information. The project is part of China's efforts to bolster the capacity of local governments and communities to respond to HIV/AIDS. "Mobility and HIV are closely interrelated, and this relationship has a negative impact on human development," UNDP Deputy Country Coordinator Renaud Meyer said. Meyer added that although HIV prevalence along China's northern border is low, increases in trade, tourism and employment opportunities could contribute to the spread of the virus in the region (Chen, China Daily, 3/11).