MSH Commemorates World AIDS Day 2012

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The Management Sciences for Health (MSH) global team of over 2,300 people from more than 70 nations is commemorating World AIDS Day 2012 in over 30 country offices around the world, including Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Haiti, and the United States.

On World AIDS Day, MSH Nigeria, in collaboration with the Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership, Chevron, and Access Bank Plc, will be hosting a launch of the award-winning film titled “INSIDE STORY: The Science of HIV/AIDS” in Lagos, Nigeria. Among dignitaries expected at the launch is the US Consul-General, Mr. Jeffrey Hawkins Jr., who will present the keynote address.

INSIDE STORY is a 90-minute feature-length drama produced in South Africa by Discovery Communications with PEPFAR funding and support from USAID, UNAIDS, MSH, Chevron, Access Bank, and other partners. It tells the story of Kalu, a Kenyan soccer player who became infected with HIV just as his career was on an upward climb. Using modern animation, the film is a compelling narration of HIV’s progression through the human body (which we actually view internally) from the moment of infection to treatment with ARVs. The film features Nigerian, Kenyan, and South African actors and is a powerful behavior change communication tool targeting youth. It was launched in South Africa and the United States of America in 2011. A preview is available at www.insidestorythemovie.org.

MSH Nigeria will also participate in other activities being coordinated by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), like an advocacy visit to the Akwa Ibom State HIV Team, a pre-World AIDS Day conference, a symposium, and a meeting with the President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and other policy makers and political leaders in the Nigerian health arena.

In Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Democratic Republic of Congo-Integrated Health Project (DRC-IHP) planned numerous World AIDS Day activities, including a conference debate at the universities and high school, “education par ecouter”(education through listening) activities in the villages and families by health workers and in the NGOs and churches by the leaders, and awareness messages by organization radio programs in the communities.

In Afghanistan, a representative from TB CARE I, Afghanistan will attend a World AIDS Day event coordinated by the National AIDS Program Secretariat. The event includes speeches from Afghan ministry leaders as well as World Health Organization (WHO) and USAID representatives.

In Ethiopia, World AIDS Day 2012 will be celebrated on December 1, 2012 with the given theme, “Getting to Zero – Zero New HIV Infections, Zero AIDS Related Deaths and Zero Discrimination” a repeat of last year. The Ethiopia Network for HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care and Support (ENHAT – CS) program will provide technical and financial support at the national level in Addis Ababa and in the regions it is operating (Tigray and Amhara). As a partner, ENHAT – CS will actively participate and support the Federal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Office and regional health bureaus to commemorate the event. The level of involvement and support will include panel discussions, media program (electronic and print), and production of promotional materials.

South Africa is collecting and donating red T-shirts and hosting a celebration that will include a presentation on HIV/AIDS. A local newspaper will construct a red ribbon with the T-shirts, and donate them to people in need.

STRIDES for Family Health in Uganda will join districts to commemorate World AIDS Day. The activities will include integrated community outreach activities, where the community will access an array of services that include: family planning, HIV counseling and testing, immunization, nutrition, and antenatal-care services, among others. STRIDES will hold an exhibition aimed at information sharing on the focal areas of the project. The national event will be held in Rakai District.

STAR-E Uganda works with each of the twelve local governments to commemorate World AIDS Day with events on the 1st of December or within the month of December. For each district, the event may include some 500 people who will start off the day with marching through the area/township, and gather for speeches on the World AIDS Day theme from a cross section of people, including political leaders, technical staff, and STAR-E representatives; all of these events are supported by the STAR-E project.

Prior to the World AIDS Day event, there are a multitude of activities that take advantage of the day to increase access to, and utilization of services in the twelve districts, such as: sensitizations of communities on specific aspects of the epidemic, through various channels of the media including radios; creating demand for available services; increased service delivery including integrated outreaches to specific target communities like most-at-risk populations (i.e. commercial sex workers, fisher folks, and truckers). The activities include: HIV counseling and testing, voluntary medical male circumcision, radio talk shows, drama presentations by people living with HIV/AIDS, and condom demonstrations and distributions.

MSH Haiti will be participating in the country’s official World AIDS Day celebration, hosted by the Ministry of Public Health and Population (Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population), along with government ministries, NGOs, and embassies. The event will include the perspectives of people living with HIV & AIDS, presentation of HIV/AIDS achievements (2012) by Haitian Government officials, and special guests, including Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS Michel Sidibé. MSH will also be supporting activities, including HIV education campaigns throughout all ten Haitian departments, community dialogues on HIV prevention in 20 communes served by SDSH (organized by communal health councils or conseils communaux de santé), display of banners, and a community radio program.

MSH staff in the United States of America (US) are participating in a film festival of HIV/AIDS videos in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia, and wearing red ribbons throughout the day.

In over 35 countries MSH works towards ending HIV & AIDS. MSH builds the capacity of public and private sector organizations to implement HIV prevention, care and treatment interventions. Our work addresses all elements of the health system: service delivery; leadership and governance; medical products, vaccines and technologies; health financing; health information and human resources. MSH supports universal access for all, but especially for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.

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