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AFRO-NETS> Break the Silence: Rwandans Speak Out About AIDS
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> Break the Silence: Rwandans Speak Out About AIDS
- From: Stephen Goldstein <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2001 17:02:28 -0500 (EST)
Break the Silence: Rwandans Speak Out About AIDS
A one-week series of radio and television programming in Rwanda aimed
at raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in that African nation
and offering solutions to the crisis begins at the end of January.
From January 29 through February 3, Radio Rwanda and Rwanda Televi-
sion will present programming seeking to educate Rwandans about AIDS.
The week will culminate with a live broadcast of a town hall meeting
from Kigali, the capital, on February 3.
As one of the countries most devastated by AIDS, Rwanda is seeking to
change community norms and slow the epidemic, to educate its popula-
tion about the risky behaviours related to HIV transmission, and to
exchange experience combating HIV/AIDS.
Currently Rwanda ranks among the top twelve African sub-Saharan coun-
tries most hit by the AIDS epidemic. Among adults, the HIV/AIDS
prevalence is 11.21 percent according to the Joint UN Program on
HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); within the youth population, the prevalence is 6.9
More than 400 people are expected to participate in the first nation-
ally broadcast town meeting ever held in Rwanda at the Meriden Hotel
on the final day of the campaign, February 3rd. Thousands of people
in rural areas will be linked live via telephone hotlines to the pub-
The Rwandan National AIDS Commission, the Rwandan Ministry of Health,
the U.S. Embassy in Rwanda, the U.S. Agency for International Devel-
opment, and the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's Population
Communication Services Project in Rwanda are supporting the event.
Rwandan health experts, young people, government officials, educa-
tors, musicians, religious leaders, and business leaders will par-
ticipate. The week will feature one-hour evening programs on both ra-
dio and television. Each evening's programming will highlight a dif-
ferent aspect of the AIDS crisis--reaching out to youth with AIDS
prevention messages, encouraging dialogue, care and support for peo-
ple living with HIV/AIDS, influencing policy makers, care of AIDS or-
phans, and dispelling misinformation about the epidemic.
"We are hoping to build on the success in Uganda, where the rate of
new HIV infections is beginning to fall after the government there
launched a similar campaign to speak out about AIDS," says Dr.
Awasum, Senior Program Officer at the Johns Hopkins Population Commu-
nication Services project. "Government support along with public edu-
cation is one of the most important elements in fighting the epi-
demic," he says.
George Murphy, Senior Director at ABC News "Nightline" and Dr. Steven
Pasternack, professor of journalism at New Mexico State University,
will serve as editorial and technical consultants to the project.
Murphy and Pasternack will work with Rwandan journalists to produce
the week of programming.
For more information, contact:
Ergibe Boyd, U.S. Embassy
Dr. David Awasum, JHU/PCS
Susan Krenn, JHU/CCP
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