African Action On AIDS African Action on AIDS


The AAA NEWS BRIEF

 

NEWS BRIEF MAY 2009

Latest News on a World Without AIDS and Malaria - Celebration of World Malaria Day 2009

A vision of a world without AIDS and Malaria is the foundation of all AAA activities. Because people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) are vulnerable to malaria, HIV prevention programs must include the fight against malaria in order to save more lives.

Malaria is a disease caused by a blood parasite known as Plasmodium, which is transmitted through mosquitoes bites particularly in the night. This parasite graudualy distroys the red blood cells causing anemia and numerous other problems. According to WHO, malaria causes 350 to 500 million cases, resulting in 1million deaths yearly. More specifically malaria is the highest cause of ill health in Cameroon - 40%.

While malaria programmes are focusing on children under 5 years and pregnant women, a new vulnerable group has emerged. It is made up of people living with HIV/AIDS. With the immune system of a person living with HIV already weaken by the actions of HIV, the impact of malaria can be very fatal.

Based on this understanding and as part of the celebration of the World Malaria Day, AAA, one of the member organisations of Cameroon Coalition Against Malaria (CCAM) launched the People to People Partnership between Monterey (USA) and CVECA Ngalla ( Cameroon ).

This partnership's goal is to build and strengthen human and financial resources that would accelerate the coming of a World without AIDS and Malaria. The first activity of the partnership that took place on 1 st April 2009 – and was not an April fool! – was the distribution of insecticide treated mosquitoes bed nets to members of the CVECA.

 
NEWS BRIEF APRIL 2009

HIV/AIDS PREVENTION: WHAT WE LEARN FROM ORGANIZATIONS OF THE AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY

ARTICLE Three: UKIMWI Orphans Assistance (UOA)

More than twenty five years after the world first became aware of AIDS, it is clear that AIDS is still a threat in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its debilitating cycle definitely impedes on many aspects of the continent's development. Unfortunately, the death toll has been so heavy and overwhelming that official policies and strategies have tended to place more emphasis on treatment rather than prevention.

On the other hand, community responses throughout Africa have mirrored their social base and have generally adapted their initiatives to local needs and available resources. In so doing they have focused mostly on prevention and mitigation. Prevention , at community level has focused on reducing new infections and containing the epidemic through information, education and campaigns like the AAA JUST KNOW CAMPAIGN - for behavior change; condoms use training and distribution, targeting vulnerable groups. Mitigation has mainly focused on poverty reduction, and initiatives reinforcing community capacity to better resist and respond to the epidemic.

The purpose of the series of short articles that will be published in AAA News Briefs in the next twelve months is to highlight local responses of organizations of the African civil society. Many organizations that initiated these responses were not able to pursue their activities for lack of resources. We would like this collective wisdom to inspire other communities even beyond the continent, while honoring the initiators, many of whom are /were partners of AAA.

UKIMWI Orphans Assistance (UOA) was co-founded in 1989, by Dr John Rutayuga who is its Executive Director. Ukimwi is a Swahili word for AIDS. This organization operates in Tanzania , Kenya and Uganda . AAA's involvement is limited to BUKOBA, Tanzania , where 14 communities, 24 groups are caring for more than 500 orphans. UOA is committed to assisting orphans and vulnerable children to grow and develop, in their cultural environment, into mature, self sufficient, productive members of their communities. This commitment is what brought AAA and UOA together since 1994, because the mission statement of AAA affirms that”…. We succeed when the youth we serve become agents of their own change and use their knowledge to change their communities”. For twenty years, UOA has successfully employed a culturally based paradigm building on the strength of the African cultural tradition in which the care of orphans is accepted as the responsibility of members of kin or the extended family. It provides the necessities of life and basic services to enable AIDS orphans and vulnerable children to grow and develop into mature, responsible and self-dependent members of their communities and nations. UOA, also builds, through socio-economic development, the capacity of the kinship groups/extended family members and communities in order to serve the needs of the children under their care. Critical in this strategy is the use of the kibanja – a traditional family farm. The kibanja is an economically valuable asset and a symbol of social prestige. Developing the kibanja of the orphans and the foster families socially and economically empowers these families and their capacity to provide care for children. UOA-assisted villages create about 70% of the resources needed to raise AIDS-orphans, an important source of food security.

Compiled by AAA secretariat and based on knowledge and files accumulated since 1994 as well as info from UOA web site: www.ukimwiorphans.com

 

 

 
NEWS BRIEF MARCH 2009

HIV/AIDS PREVENTION: WHAT WE LEARN FROM ORGANIZATIONS OF THE AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY

ARTICLE TWO : Country Women's Association of Nigeria (COWAN)

More than twenty five years after the world first became aware of AIDS, it is clear that AIDS is still a threat in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its debilitating cycle definitely impedes on many aspects of the continent's development. Unfortunately, the death toll has been so heavy and overwhelming that official policies and strategies have tended to place more emphasis on treatment rather than prevention.

On the other hand, community responses throughout Africa have mirrored their social base and have generally adapted their initiatives to local needs and available resources. In so doing they have focused mostly on prevention and mitigation. Prevention , at community level has focused on reducing new infections and containing the epidemic through information, education and campaigns like the AAA JUST KNOW CAMPAIGN - for behavior change; condoms use training and distribution, targeting vulnerable groups. Mitigation has mainly focused on poverty reduction, and initiatives reinforcing community capacity to better resist and respond to the epidemic.

The purpose of the series of short articles that will be published in AAA News Briefs in the next twelve months is to highlight local responses of organizations of the African civil society. Many organizations that initiated these responses were not able to pursue their activities for lack of resources. We would like this collective wisdom to inspire other communities even beyond the continent, while honoring the initiators, many of whom are /were partners of AAA.

The Country Women's Association of Nigeria (COWAN) was founded by Chief Bisi Ogunleye. It is a rural organization born in Ondo State , Nigeria . COWAN has consultative status with the United Nations ECOSOC and has developed what is now called a tripod approach that has helped mitigate HIV/AIDS with micro financing. The tripod approach correspond with three areas of poverty that have been identified by members of COWAN: 1) Economic Empowerment. 2) Social Empowerment. 3) Political Empowerment. After more than twenty years of this integrated approach, COWAN now calls it the Tripod Empowerment Approach.

Although income generating projects have built-in risks of economies of scale and overhead costs, the ability of micro finance institutions to respond to the changing needs of their clients is crucial to HIV/AIDS mitigation efforts. The COWAN has successfully used micro financing to empower communities in addressing AIDS.

Building upon traditional savings and credit systems, COWAN developed the African Traditional Banking (ATRB) scheme to provide credit to poor people, especially rural women, who lacked the credit and financial resources. Central to ATRB is that each member must save to participate: NO SAVINGS, NO MEMBERSHIP”, and its success has allowed COWAN to scale-up its efforts into health care. For instance, members save profits from income generating schemes not just to repay loans, but also for payments into ATRB Health Development Fund, which ensures essential health care services in case of emergency. COWAN also pools together resources among members to arrange for a nurse and/or doctor to visit communities on a monthly basis. Similarly, members pool together funds to buy medicine in bulk to purchase more medicines with the profits.

AAA has been inspired by COWAN when preparing the CARE –MIFED/AAA project in 2007 entitled “ La Micro Finance Instrument Privilégié dans la Lutte Contre le VIH/ SIDA.”

Chief Bisi Ogunleye

  • Since we did not have pictures of COWAN activities in the field, the pictures below are those of African Action on AIDS (AAA) Interpersonal Conversations with rural women in micro credit schemes - Cameroon

 

 

 

 
NEWS BRIEF FEBRUARY 2009

HIV/AIDS PREVENTION: WHAT WE LEARN FROM ORGANIZATIONS OF THE AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY

ARTICLE ONE: The Coalition of the Families in the Fight Against AIDS and Poverty (COFAL/SP)

More than twenty five years after the world first became aware of AIDS, it is clear that AIDS is still a threat in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its debilitating cycle definitely impedes on many aspects of the continent's development. Unfortunately, the death toll has been so heavy and overwhelming that official policies and strategies have tended to place more emphasis on treatment rather than prevention.

On the other hand, community responses throughout Africa have mirrored their social base and have generally adapted their initiatives to local needs and available resources. In so doing they have focused mostly on prevention and mitigation. Prevention , at community level has focused on reducing new infections and containing the epidemic through information, education and campaigns like the AAA JUST KNOW CAMPAIGN - for behavior change; condoms use training and distribution, targeting vulnerable groups. Mitigation has mainly focused on poverty reduction, and initiatives reinforcing community capacity to better resist and respond to the epidemic.

The purpose of the series of short articles that will be published in AAA News Briefs in the next twelve months is to highlight local responses of organizations of the African civil society. Many organizations that initiated these responses were not able to pursue their activities for lack of resources. We would like this collective wisdom to inspire other communities even beyond the continent, while honoring the initiators, many of whom are /were partners of AAA.

COFAL – SP: Coalition des Familles dans la Lutte contre le VIH-SIDA et la Pauvreté . COFAL /SP was founded by Ms. Kadida Christele Sall. The COFAL/SP is a local association in Burkina Faso that pursues a comprehensive strategy in six areas to assist AIDS impacted communities. 1) Preventive efforts include the free distribution and training on proper condom use-(1)- to targeted HIV high risk groups, HIV awareness education at community centers and during visits to households of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and family counseling for AIDS affected households. 2) Patient follow-up services utilize home visits to help families overcome fear and stigma, and learn important forms of care, like giving a bath to a PLWHA. 3) Nutritional support is also provided to HIV afflicted households through home visits, during which a nutritionist provides practical advice on proper diet and meal changes to combat prevalent opportunist diseases. 4) Support for AIDS orphans is provided through the collection of clothes, school supplies, and other donations, and COFAL works with various trade associations and other sponsors to provide training and educational opportunities for orphans. 5) COFAL/SP members sponsor HIV-afflicted households, particularly widows, grandparents, and orphans, to receive micro-loans following counseling on Income Generating Activities (IGA). 6) COFAL/SP also provides legal support to AIDS households.

Compiled by AAA Secretariat and based on knowledge and files accumulated between 2001 and 2005 when COFAL/SP was sponsored by AAA

(1) Because condoms were seldom used in Africa at the beginning of the pandemic, mostly in regular legal marriages and other long term relationships, AAA used to and still emphasizes the need to reduce the number of partners

CSOs holding meetings to bring out common strategies to address the AIDS situatiion in Cameroon

 

The acquisition of "FEK" (Knowledge) by the local communities is a prerequisite to eradicate AIDS

 

COFAL orphans in Burkina Faso

 

 

 
NEWS BRIEF JANUARY 2009

END OF YEAR MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

Progress through networking & partnership

African Action on AIDS opens each year with a Networking Day, drawing attention to Solidarity and Collaboration as essential ingredients to progress and community building. Indeed, communication and cooperation among social actors not only strengthen participation, moral commitment and collective identity, but model such principles for target communities. Dialogue among actors increases knowledge, technical skills and facilitates the sharing of human resources, which all serve to broaden the dissemination of successful strategies, as well as lessons learned from the problems encountered. Dialogue can also safeguard limited financial resources and help resolve conflicts.

This year, we witnessed the creation of a “World without AIDS” Quilt – a collaboration comprised of the Women Quilters of Monterey ( Massachusetts , USA ), the Monterey Cultural Council, the Center for Peace through Culture (also of Monterey ) and visionary youth in Cameroon .

The partnership between African Action on AIDS and the Batonga Foundation allowed us to renew twenty one (21) scholarships for secondary school and university girls, eleven (11) of whom passed the national official exams.

Furthermore, we strengthened AAA's concept and methodology of interpersonal conversations in the fight against HIV/AIDS. This led to the adoption of Mini Health Plans and the formulation of criteria for Mobilized/Responsible Communities with “FEK/PEK” or Wisdom. – This has been the fruit of the long standing partnership formed with UNAIDS, MIFED and members of CVECA (rural banks) in Cameroon .

During this year, we also launched our “Portable Drinking and Hand-Washing Stations” that promote potable water and hand washing as a human right for all. This successful low technology tool cemented different forms of partnerships that included MIFED, CVECAs, Association Camerounaise pour le Marketing Social (ACMS), and the Organization of African Intellectual Properties, making it possible for African Action on AIDS to be included in the report of the Ministry of Justice on human rights activities and also listed as one of the private organizations caring for vulnerable children in Cameroon.

While AAA continues to work in the same direction with all its partners, we would like to thank our dedicated Board Members, our Supporters, Partners and Staff, without whom the achievements of this past year would not have been possible, and who are the ones who will make all of our future work possible.

We wish you all a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2009!

Ruth Bamela Engo

President of AAA

 

 
NEWS BRIEF DECEMBER 2008

General Health, Hiv/Aids Prevention and National Budgets

As the year ends, African Action on AIDS is reaffirming its support to the Africa Public Health Rights Alliance 15% NOW CAMPAIGN for the Right to Health, Sustainable Health Development and Financing in Africa .

This is in line with AAA sustainable health programme based on the concept of: “ Health before Wealth”.

 AAA Respectfully draws the attention of the African Union on the Pledge made by member States in Abuja in 2001, to allocate 15% of national budgets to health. If this pledge is not honoured as it should, people of Africa will continue to die, feel helpless and for a long time, Africa will not ensure that each of its citizens has a minimum common humanity level !!!!

 In Cameroon 5% of the national budget goes to health . We encourage our Government to cover this gap in 2009. For more information on the campaign please visit: www.africa15percentcampaign.org

Ruth Bamela Engo

President

African Action on AIDS

 
NEWS BRIEF NOVEMBER 2008

Inauguration of “A World Without Aids ” Quilt

“A WORLD WITHOUT AIDS” Quilt was inaugurated in Monterey on 31 August 2008. Quilt Panels were sponsored by the Monterey Cultural Council and the Center for Peace Through Culture, Monterey , MA .  The panels were created by Joan MacVicar, Kathie Frome, Myra Rosen and Laraine Lippe, Secretary of African Action on AIDS' Board of Directors.

The collaboration between women quilters of Monterey, the Center for Peace Through Culture of USA and Cameroon youth is a fine example of what is presently called “HOT SPOTS” or successful enthusiastic teams, with different people, different skills, scattered around the world, with the same vision and working together on the same project. This form of organization, that may become a model of collaboration in the 21 st Century, was initiated in this case by African Action on AIDS.

The first workshop that started this process and that produced the first 100 paintings of “A World Without AIDS” was organized in Yaoundé , Cameroon on 19-21 December 2006. It was sponsored by UNICEF Cameroon. AAA did not conceive it as an individual endeavor of each artist – many of whom had never painted before - We wanted this activity to be the combined success of this generation of youth. It was to be viewed as a collective product, celebrating all artists, each with their individual views. The quilt, should therefore be seen as HARMONY WITH CONTRADICTION, because it includes different visions of past, present and future from boys, girls, orphans, non orphans, school goers or not. The quilt merges their collective yearn for “A World Without AIDS”. To support this perception, we did not concentrate on individual information on artists, but presented a list of same generation participants. Modern Africa has become individualistic. We wanted the younger generation to emphasize SUCCESS THAT CELEBRATES ALL ELEMENTS OF A TEAM.

As we struggled on this side of the world to ensure that the new generation of Africans do not die and is not denied the chance of visualizing, then changing the course of their history positively, women quilters of Monterey gave their TIME , SKILLS, AND LOVE to multiply our chances of success. We thank them for teaching us this form of giving.

This exceptional quilt will be presented to the public when it comes home in December.

By

Ruth Bamela Engo

President of AAA

 
NEWS BRIEF OCTOBER 2008

AIDS RUN: by a member of AAA Board of Directors

Suzanne Africa Engo, the runner is officially ranked one of the top 40 youth AIDS activists in the world as proclaimed by MTV Networks and the Kaiser Foundation who put her face on Time Square MTV jumbotron on a World AIDS Day. She co-founded AAA when she was 12 years old and later founded the New York AIDS Film Festival (NYAFF) , the first film festival on HIV/AIDS in the world as proclaimed by the United Nations. She is the Representative of AAA at the UN.

Suzanne Africa will run 858 Miles from the United Nations Headquarters, New York , to Chicago (Harpo Studios). The reason of the RUN is to draw attention on the work needed to end AIDS in Africa , mostly among African women. On her way to Chicago , Suzanne Africa will stop in schools to speak about AIDS in Africa . It is Africa Engo's wish to mirror a 100 year old route that was run by YMCA boys in 1908 from New York to Chicago .

The RUN was launched on 15th September 2008, 10:00AM, at the United Nations in the presence of H.E. Ambassador Tommo Monthe , Permanent Representative of Cameroon at the UN. Speakers at the launch were: Ken Podziba , New York Commissioner of Sports who read a message from the Mayor of New York City; Mr Bertil Lindblad, UNAIDS Director in New York, who also launched the NYAFF 6 years ago; Mr. Toby Tanser , Head trainer of Africa Engo and founder of Shoe4 Africa (see pictures).

A Home Town Support group has been organized in Yaoundé and members will contribute 100FCFA per mile to encourage this activist. Join us!

In the name of African Action on AIDS, we salute the heroic effort of this young African woman. We hope that it will accelerate the awareness and contribute to the end of this PREVENTABLE PANDEMIC!

By

Ruth Bamela Engo

President of AAA

Suzanne Africa Engo at different training sessions

IMG_3789 by you.

Suzanne Africa Engo with one of her four trainers marathoner Toby Tanser

Suzanne Africa Engo receiving traditional blessings at the launch of the AIDS RUN by an African women in New York

 
NEWS BRIEF SEPTEMBER 2008

AIDS

AIDS is a disease

Which comes to tease

But does not cease

If AIDS were an aid

Then humans would tease

So it doesn't fade.

It is like a roaring lion

Upon Mount Zion

With its numerous symptoms

So tiny as atoms

But hard as a metagon

Seeking someone to devour

But none will allow

This horrid pest

Which comes to test

But does not rest

It is running a race

With a seasonal pace

A big ‘NO' will do

By,

Velveeta Viban (15)

Our Lady of Lourdes College ,

Mankon – Bamenda , Cameroon

Author of poem

Youth paintings

 
NEWS BRIEF AUGUST 2008

Letters to the future – visualization involves not just gathering an image of the future, but also conceptualizing the path to that future

Dear Syndy,

Presently I am in Form 3 going to Form 4 and I am 13 years old. I study English and French and I am studying Arabic too. The first time I heard about HIV/AIDS, I was very scared and I took it very seriously. I decided to protect myself and prevent the disease from getting into me. I listened to many television and radio programs about AIDS and decided that I would be alive and become a parent by 2020 without being infected. To do this, I have to follow certain rules and regulations and maintain decent attitudes so that I do not get infected with the virus. Here are some of the decent attitudes I have decided to maintain: I say NO to all indecent propositions like having sexual intercourse before marriage or to earn money.

Education is my priority, so I do not waste time on other things which are of little or no importance to me. I make the right choice of friends so that I won't be influenced negatively; I maintain my personal hygiene; I don't use un-sterilised material such as blades, needles, syringes; I pray and believe in God and follow his commandments.

This disease has no cure for the moment, but I strongly believe that the cure will be found one day hopefully before you are born. The disease has made many innocent children of this generation to become orphans infected or affected by it (150,000 of them are in Cameroon ). This is not healthy for the country because if everybody especially the youths who are the leaders of tomorrow die from HIV/AIDS, there will be no development in our country .I have therefore taken the decision not to be infected with the disease and to be a member of the HIV/AIDS free community.

This does not mean that those already infected should be rejected and stigmatized. Instead, we should give them hope and moral support so that they can live longer while making sure that they maintain a balanced diet and a healthy mind.

Syndy, these are some of the ways I chose to face the challenges of my generation and I hope you will use these values to face the challenges of your own generation.

Your dear Mom,

Rashida.

Author of the letter

AIDS free African kids

Youth paintings

 
NEWS BRIEF JULY 2008

DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD 2008: Cameroon youth make scripts for AIDS films and dialogue with parents

The idea of letting African youth write film scripts to provide information about AIDS is not new. Scenario from Africa has been doing it since 1997 in 37 countries.

African Action on AIDS launched this idea in Cameroon this year as part of its campaign on Visualizing a world without AIDS and Malaria. The particularity of the AAA initiative lies on the need to integrate youth perspective in the search for solutions to major problems encountered during AIDS preventive work in the field. The two-day seminar organized by AAA was titled: Youth Participation: Visualization of a world without HIV/AIDS and Film making .

The seminar combined scripts writing, under the leadership of Mr. Bassek ba Kobhio , Promoter of ECRANS NOIRS and his two Assistants: Award winning Etet Pauline D. and Waa N. Musi Producer/Director of Musinash Image Centre. Debates and scripts writing during the two-day seminar focused on taboo issues like:

•  Parent-child discussion on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention;

•  Alcohol, Drugs and HIV;

•  The right moment to teach the use of condom to a child - The Learning Moment!

•  Learning to use a condom - not as an encouragement to sexual promiscuity;

•  Stigmatization - not only as an outward attack to a person living with HIV/AIDS, but also as self-stigmatization.

These and other issues were at the centre of a dialogue between children and adults hosted by a great school: The Mario Academic Complex in Yaoundé on 26-27 June 2008.

By

President, African Action on AIDS

 
NEWS BRIEF JUNE 2008

BASIC HEALTH and HIV/AIDS Prevention: Innovative Portable Drinking & Hand Washing Stations

AAA just came out with a double innovation aims at providing the general public with new tools to fight diseases caused by polluted water and unclean hands. Although our work aims to prevent HIV infection and AIDS, the function of the Portable Drinking and Hand-Washing Stations attempt to reduce the risk of opportunistic diseases caused by polluted water and dirty hands.

A Portable Drinking Station : The purpose of which is to provide potable drinking water free of harmful contaminants. The water is protected from the threat of pollutants caused by unclean hands and containers because it is enclosed and elevated away from the floor. The station is comprised of a closed recycled 20 litre container, a brass sieve inserted at the bottom to collect and separate contaminated particles from water, and a metal frame that supports the container on the wall away from the floor. Included in the container is “WaterGuard” – a substance that makes water potable. Located on the wall adjacent to the drinking water station is an extended wooden handle, which is used to hold cups away from the floor.

 A Portable Hand-Washing Station : The purpose of which is to provide soapy water for the cleaning of dirty hands. The station is comprised of a closed recycled 20 litre container, a tap, and a metal frame that supports the container on the wall away from the floor. Included in the container is powder soap and water.

The innovative Stations are portable allowing people to travel with potable and soapy water from one location to another while simultaneously promoting the right to safe water and clean hands.

By

Ruth Bamela Engo

President, African Action on AIDS

 
NEWS BRIEF MAY 2008

HIV/AIDS Prevention: “VANHIVAX and HIV/AIDS”

 Our work consisted in understanding the structure of HIV, correctly interpreting the function of its various parts and in finding solutions to various problems raised by these parts. The envelope of HIV is of CD4+ or human origin and the virus must have acquired it in the course of its evolution! The presence of the envelope of human origin on HIV leads to 3 major consequences;-

a) Ineffective antibodies to the virus in the body. If they were indeed effective, they would kill the virus, as well as all the CD4+ - a kind of suicide unacceptable to the body! The virus has thus used its envelope to ‘blackmail' the body's immune system into ineffectiveness, thus guarantee its continued existence in the body. b) CD4+ and other cells are normally impenetrable to all antibodies. In wrapping itself in CD4+ membrane, HIV not only wishes to pass off for a normal CD4+ cell but above all it wants the same security of cells of being impenetrable to all antibodies. c) HIV grows within the CD4+ and because the CD4+ loses its cell wall membrane as envelopes to the thousands of mature viruses that leave it, these helper cells die leading to a fall of the patient's immunity rendering him open to a host of opportunistic infections. (Hepatitis B & C and other viruses also have envelopes of human origin for their prolonged survival in the body).

Based on this understanding, we have produced VANHIVAX from the patient's virus which is effective and given to the patient to provoke a cell mediated immune response which alone penetrates the viral envelope. Patients should, of course, be immune competent with low viral count and high CD4+. Of the many patients treated with VANHIVAX, 18 of them, the tip of the iceberg, have converted to sero-negative and are no longer infective. They were seen early in their infection with an immune competent system. Most AIDS patients who came late with depressed immunity were greatly helped by VANHIVAX but could not achieve sero-negativity. Their immunity must first be raised before a curative vaccination with VANHIVAX can be prescribed. If VANHIVAX is prepared from viruses grown in a region of the world and used in the same manner, it can prevent the spread of HIV infection in that region. With the simultaneous application of the simple technology of VANHIVAX in different parts of the world, this epidemic could soon be brought under control.

By

Professor Victor Anomah Ngu

Former Minister of Public Health, Cameroon / Founder of Clinique de l'Espoir / Member of the International Advisory Board of AAA

 

 

 
NEWS BRIEF APRIL 2008

HIV/AIDS Prevention: Effectiveness of mobile units for mass HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa

 In Africa where less than 1% of the general adult population is aware of their HIV status, the use of HIV testing mobile units offers relevant public health prospects. In order to increase the HIV testing capabilities of voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) centres, we developed a decentralized strategy based on bringing the needed services closer to the people, through the use of mobile units.

The National Public Health Laboratory “Hygiene Mobile” (LSHM) of Cameroon acquired a 7.5 metre long van comprising separate seats, the front ones for the driver and the medical team, and the back seats for the laboratory facilities. HIV testing is conducted using two rapid tests. Samples with discrepant results are referred to the LSHM for confirmation. Informed consent is obtained from all participants.

Since April 2005 we have tested more than 20, 000 volunteers who received pre-test and post-test counselling with an acceptance rate of 99.7%. The overall HIV prevalence in Cameroon stands at around 6.86 %.(1)

HIV testing, through mobile units likely constitutes a useful tool to promote large scale up HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa, especially for people living far from formal HIV testing facilities, and should be integrated into the national HIV control programme.

 By

Francois-Xavier Mbopi-Keou, DBiol, MPhil, MSc, DLSHTM, PhD

School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon

Head, National Public Health Laboratory “Hygiene Mobile ”, Yaounde , Cameroon

(1) Mbopi-Keou FX, Ongolo Zogo P, Angwafo F, Ndumbe PM, Belec L – High Impact of Mobile Units for Mass HIV Testing in Africa, AIDS 2007; 21, 1994-1996

 
NEWS BRIEF MARCH 2008

HIV/AIDS Prevention: The Impact of Malaria

 Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite transmitted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. It causes 350 to 500 million cases of malaria yearly, resulting in 1million deaths among whom 80% concerns children aged under five. While malaria programs are focusing on children and pregnant women, a new vulnerable group is immerging; this is made up of people living with HIV (PLWHA).

The defense system of a PLWHA is weak and this explains why malaria is more frequent and severe with cases of treatment failure both resulting in many deaths from malaria.

PLWHA should therefore rigorously apply the preventive measures such as sleeping under insecticide treated bed net every night, applying insect repellants when staying outdoors, etc. Also malaria treatment must start within 24 hours of onset of symptoms.

In cases where the immune system is severely compromised, a doctor may prescribe chemoprophylaxis for a limited duration.

Because people living with HIV/AIDS are vulnerable to malaria, HIV prevention programs must include the fight against malaria in order to save more lives.

Dr. Esther Tallah

Manager, Cameroon Coalition against Malaria

www.cameroon-coalition-malaria.org

 

 
NEWS BRIEF FEBRUARY 2008

On 6-8 February 2008: The AAA / UNAIDS / MIFED team Celebrates YOUTH WEEK at the CECA of OBALA

Phase II of INTERPERSONAL CONVERSATIONS

In October 2007, AAA launched interpersonal conversations with women members of CECA, a community microcredit scheme. One of the goals was to help create the kind of financial autonomy that would, not only limit HIV infection facilitated by prostitution and/or other sexual violence, but also develop tools that would strengthen women's self confidence and allow them to negotiate their sexuality with partners. As a result, a Village Health Plan (HP) was developed; an organization of women members of the microcredit scheme (AFAC) was elected with a mission to implement the HP; a health based Income Generating Activity (IGA) - selling treated mosquitoes bed nets, and a product that creates potable water- was launched.

On 6-8 February, the AAA/UNAIDS/MIFED team is going back to launch phase 2 of the project. This coincides with YOUTH WEEK 2008, with the following activities:

•  Counselling and free Voluntary Testing of HIV for members of CECA and their families, as well as secondary school students;

•  Teaching AFAC members a new IGA (making soap) to promote healthy habits;

•  Build a toilet for CECA to keep the environment clean;

•  Organize a training/debate session for secondary school students on the theme: HIV/AIDS Prevention: Building a new AIDS-Free Generation.

www.mifedcam.com

www.unaids.org

 
NEWS BRIEF JENUARY 2008

ASK THE DOCTOR: Why does African Action on AIDS emphasize hand washing as prevention for HIV/AIDS!!!

Information of Hand washing in HIV/AIDS prevention

Q: Why does the program emphasize hand washing as prevention for HIV/AIDS?

A: Hand-washing is emphasized because contracting HIV/AIDS is a 2 part process- first becoming infected with the virus and then becoming ill because of it.

First of all:

  • The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is spread via direct contact with infected blood or sexual intercourse with an infected person.
  • The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the illness that most people infected with HIV develop, usually many years after being infected with HIV.

While:

  • We do not know all the factors that trigger the AIDS illness, [we DO know that] the process of having other infections plays a role.
  • Hand washing is a very important part of preventing other infections.
  • Hand washing is important for everyone, but especially so for people who are HIV infected or who have developed AIDS.

We want to prevent both occurrence of the infection and progression to illness!

By 

Cathey Eisner Falvo, MD, MPH

One of AAA's Medical Advisers

 

 
NEWS BRIEF DECEMBER 2007

NO ONE IS ALONE - AN AFRICAN ORPHAN IS AN ASSET, NOT A BURDEN!!!

Orphans are assets

•  Each healthy and trained orphan is an asset for the nation.

•  Each orphan who visualizes himself/herself in a world without AIDS is an asset for his/her community

•  Each orphan bringing one bed net to the house hold is an asset as his/her bed net diminishes the population of mosquitoes in that house hold.

•  Each orphan bringing ½ litre of Sur'Eau into a household, provides 1,000 litres of potable water available for that household.

•  Each smile of an orphan is a blessing for the whole planet!

How can you participate in this transformation?

US$ 5 – ½ litre of Sur'Eau

US$ 15 - one treated mosquito bed net

US$ 20 - one uniform for a secondary school girl; one sports attire; one pair of sports shoes;

US$ 25 - Notebooks for first year secondary school girl; a pack containing:  1 ruler, 1 eraser, 1 sharpener, 2 pens, 2 pencils; one school bag

US$ 50 – two dictionaries (one for French and the other for English) for one secondary school girl

US$ 65 – a complete kit of all of the above items for one orphan.

US$ 85 - Tool box for technical secondary school girl; one regular and one professional uniform for secondary technical school;

US$ 425 - One year in a public secondary school;

US$ 875 - One year in technical secondary school

US$ 960 – one year in a non-technical University 

US$ 890 - A three tap sink to wash hands in school

US$ 1,870 - one toilet plus a small structure and sink for washing hands that will be built in a high school

 

 

 

 





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