Joint Initiative To Address HIV/AIDS Among Member Nations

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Ministers from Africa's Great Lakes region this week at a conference inMombasa, Kenya, announced the creation of a joint intervention programto address HIV/AIDS among member nations, the East African Standardreports. The project, launched under the Great Lakes Initiative onAIDS, primarily will target refugees, internally displaced populations,returning refugees and surrounding communities at selected GLIAlocations in member countries, John Munyes, GLIA chair and Kenyanminister for special programs, said. The program also aims to reachlong-distance drivers along Kenya's northern corridor and already hasregistered nine refugee camps in the region, including Kakuma in Kenya,he added. The initiative likely will reach an estimated six millionpeople living with HIV and more than three million children who areorphaned by or vulnerable to the disease.

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Munyes also called onmember states to support regional organizations in their efforts tofight HIV/AIDS, noting that mobility of people across borders hasincreased the vulnerability to and spread of communicable diseases andHIV/AIDS. He said reaching out to long-distance drivers is "absolutelynecessary" because the drivers interact with communities alonghighways. Munyes said that the joint intervention is meant to add valueto the local strategies in the fight against HIV.

According toMunyes, the Kenyan government aims to reduce its HIV prevalence tobelow 5.5% by 2010. National Aids Control Council Chair Miriam Were, aswell as ministers from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and theDemocratic Republic of Congo, also addressed the conference.

GLIA has received 1.4 billion Kenyan shillings, or about $20 million, from the World Bank's International Development Association to support the initiative during the next four years, the Standard reports (Beja, East African Standard,7/27). According to GLIA Chief Executive Joseph Wakana, the money wouldbenefit programs in Kenya, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo,Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda (Mayoyo, Nation/AllAfrica.com, 7/26). Wakana said that officials plan to work closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees at the selected refugee camps across borders (East African Standard, 7/27).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyHIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . TheKaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service ofThe Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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