Handicap International Launches Program in Rwanda To Address HIV/AIDS Among Blind People
Efforts to address HIV/AIDS in Rwanda have not included blind people, Jacques Sindayigaya, Handicap International's coordinator of a new program to address the virus in the population, said Monday during a workshop in Rwanda's capital of Kigali, the New Times/AllAfrica.com reports.
Participants at the workshop aimed to discuss ways to better address HIV/AIDS among blind people through the new program. Representatives from the program's five pilot districts in Rwanda's Eastern Province attended the workshop and received training on providing HIV testing to blind people. Handicap International also distributed radio receivers, cassettes and batteries to help workshop participants implement the program in the pilot districts, which include Gatsibo, Kayonza, Kirehe, Ngoma and Nyagatare.
"Programs to fight AIDS have not been considering the fact that [blind] people cannot read what is written in either books or billboards," Sindayigaya said, adding that the program "will help in finding ways of helping and incorporat[ing] them in the general program to fight HIV/AIDS among Rwandans."
Donatilla Kanimba, executive secretary of the Rwandan Union of the Blind, said the program will help blind people understand HIV/AIDS, adding that health workers sometimes "have misconceptions about the blind" and "isolate [blind people] when it comes to health issues" (Mutesi, New Times/AllAfrica.com, 5/15).