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Future outlook: Effective prevention and mitigation.

The parameters to be considered in prevention and mitigation against HIV/AIDS are well known but less known is what works and why. This is closely tied to the silence, stigma, discrimination and denial that deters experimentation in HIV/AIDS. Secondly, there is little analytical work and less on information sharing on innovative works. Thirdly, there are a lot of information gaps that constrain effective mitigation.

In regard to the strengths in the region, one aspect that should be exploited is the existing capacity of the community-based organizations and the churches because of their experience and ability to deal with community members. At present the following are the main trends;

The number of institutions involved in HIV/AIDS prevention/ mitigation and training on how to handle the problem is growing. Included are churches, CBOs, NGOs, Government, Research bodies, all in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

There is increasing need to educate the youth but the approach is yet to have a consensus; In Kenya, for example, the government developed an AIDS education program as an offshoot of family life education program for the youth. The Catholic Church has not been supportive urging that the behavioral changes may spurn out of control. However, it is becoming clear that the churches themselves should take up the role. The Church stand is that the trainers need to be professionals in respect to HIV/AIDS rather than the normal teachers of the school curricula.

An increase in development plans that incorporate HIV/AIDS as part of the interventions.

Research in HIV/AIDS control methods including development of vaccines.

Unexploited potential possibilities


Private sector program for HIV/AIDS and PLWA is not yet in place.

Private sector programs to limit new infections for employees have not been put in place
Churches undertaking reproductive health program for the youth is yet to be exploited. It is clear that the faith-based organizations are not doing enough; they have the potential to counsel the flock, support PLWA, mobilize resources, provide the way forward on moral standards and fight outdated cultural practices.

Rising the retirement ages for employees of families affected by Aids to help the families take care of dependents.

Expansion of church programs for care of people living with HIV/AIDS

Reversal of outdated cultural practices by the help of the church but supported by Governments
Passage of laws to protect people from infections and demanding mandatory testing before marriage

Possibility of home based care programs based on community volunteers who go from home to home giving guidance and counseling

C). STRATEGIC ACTIONS BY LWR/PARTNERS ON HIV/AIDS IN THE REGION

LWR-EARO has been supporting HIV/AIDS and Primary Health Care as a core theme through its partner organizations.

The areas of focus had been supporting reduction in spread and impacts of the disease, by supporting prevention interventions, the needs of those already infected, the orphans and the widows. One way of doing so has been through micro financing of income generating activities, skills development, improving nutrition and breaking the cycle of poverty. The ongoing mitigation projects include;

AIDS orphans support in Uganda (AMREF)
Documentation/replication of best practices (in AMREF region covering Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Eritrea).
Community Based Health Care Initiatives Bukhayo West and Tototo in Kenya. This project has been focusing on both prevention of the spread of the virus and the care of the orphans and widows
Child Rights program in Kenya
Integrated Development- Dodoma, Tanzania.

Because of the magnitude of the demands for more services, LWR in collaboration with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America implementing the Stand with Africa campaign that first and foremost, tries to enlighten the American Lutherans on the reality of the problems facing the region and the likely solutions as well as try and obtain more resources to address the problem

In a closely related venture, LWR has been organizing study tours to the region to help the donors and the Lutheran population to have a first hand experience on problems and solutions in the region.

While undertaking the above, LWR-EARO has been networking and collaborating with other like minded organizations to share their experiences and enrich their onslaught against HIV/AIDS
LWR-ERAO hopes to eventually access USAID emergency Grants to deal with HIV/AIDS emergencies in the region. It recognizes the growing need to provide unmet needs for programs that support the ability of the orphaned youth to earn a decent living

LWR-EARO recognizes the role played by its partners in development and HIV/AIDS control. As a result, it has laid a lot of emphasis on capacity building of its partners to help them deal with emerging challenges and development needs. HIV/AIDS has been one of the targets.

Uganda as a success case in HIV/AIDS control and prevention

Success cases such as Uganda where AIDS epidemic used to be very high but the rate of new infections has been reduced and indicate that possibilities of containing the virus exist. One of the key elements that contributed to the success in Uganda has been the openness of the society on AIDS and the Governments concerted effort in fighting HIV/AIDS. To be noted is the fact that even Nations that have a good economy can have a very devastating HIV/AIDS experience. AIDS take a long incubation period in a healthy population and allow infections to spread unnoticed. This has been the case for Botswana.

D). REFERENCES

(2000-2001) Several News Articles from Year 2000 to Year 2001 on topical HIV/AIDS in the region. Nation Newspapers, East African Standard and the East African Newspapers.

(1999 NASCOP) AIDS in Kenya; Background projects and impact intervention policy. Fifth Edition. National AIDS/ STDS control Program, Ministry of Health Nairobi.

(Amref-Kenya, Feb 1991) Living positively with AIDS. The AIDS support Organization (TASO), Uganda. Revised edition. Published by G&A Williams, Oxford, UK.

* Kenya has been taken as the case study in most of the citations

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Other Articles of Interest:

What Would Jesus Do About Aids?
by Jonathan Frerichs, LWR Communication Director

Standing With Africa
by LWR President, Kathryn Wolford


Stand With Africa: A Campaign of Hope?
Written by Cathie DeGonia, Stand With Africa Campaign Communication Coordinator

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Writen by Asenath Omwego, LWR Regional Representative East Africa