Campaign to promote family planning and the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS

Wednesday 15 October 2003, by Michel LAMBERT

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), AIDS, the official rate of which is 5%, will in fact affect many more people, with an average of 173 000 new cases every year. Many aggravating factors, particularly the war and displacement of populations, have probably strongly contributed to the spread of HIV and other STDs. Hospitals are currently inundated with people carrying HIV. At the Kisangani hospital, 68% of the sick will die of AIDS, as will 75% of those at Kikwit. A recent study involving apparently healthy families who donate blood revealed that more than one third were already HIV positive. UNAIDS estimates that at least 90% of HIV positive people are not aware of their health status.

In Kinshasa in particular, the social, political, educational and cultural crises that have hit the population have destroyed the socio-educational and health infrastructures. In addition, they have enabled the appearance of risk practices such as prostitution, clandestine abortions, abandonment of street children, etc…
It is within this context that Alternatives has chosen to support a campaign managed by CODIAF (Collectif de diffusion de l’information et d’appui aux femmes) that aims to improve family planning and support in the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS for youths/adolescents and adults living in the poor neighbourhoods of KINSHASA.

More specifically, the campaign aims to:

• Raise awareness of the importance of reproductive health among target populations;
• Host meetings on family planning, the fight against clandestine abortions, the fight against STDs and HIV/AIDS, pregnancy and maternity risks among adolescents, and maternal and infant mortality;
• Educate youths/adolescents and others for better social integration;
• Inform target populations of the dangers of irresponsible sexuality;
• Train marriage and family counsellors;
• Train campaign organizers;
• Raise and increase the awareness of parents and teachers regarding child care;
• Strengthen the culture of family life and affection between couples, children and members of the immediate and extended family.

The pilot phase of the campaign will reach two low-income outlying neighbourhoods of Kinshasa (Mombele and Kingabwa) in the municipality of Limete, involving 5000 youths who will be trained directly by CODIAF educators. With the addition of messages in the media, the campaign hopes to reach at least 50 000 people. According to the results of the first phase, Alternatives hopes to be able to extend the program to other Kinshasa municipalities, and eventually to the entire province.

Michel Lambert is the Director of the Kinshasa branch of Alternatives.

À propos de Michel LAMBERT

Executive Director

Co-founder of Alternatives, Michel Lambert believes in the importance of uniting groups and organizations of the civil society, here and in the rest of the world, to promote democratic principles, equality and fairness for all.

Prior to being nominated Executive Director in 2007, he established and developed various international solidarity programs at Alternatives, initiated innovative global justice campaigns with civil society groups and trade unions in Quebec and Canada, and directed the Alternatives’ Democratic Republic of Congo branch from 2002 to 2005.

Michel Lambert is a member of the Board of Directors of the Alternatives International Federation, , the Board of the Association québécoise des organisme de coopération internationle (AQOCI) as well as the organization Alliance syndicats et tiers-monde. He was on Executive Council of the Association for the Progress of Communications (APC) between 2008 and 2011 and of Food Secure Canada between 2009-2012.

Michel Lambert also represents Alternatives at the International Council of the World Social Forum and within various coalitions in Quebec and Canada like Pas de démocratie sans voix, Voices/voix and the Réseau québécois de l’intégration continentale - RQIC.

Read Michel Lambert (in French) in our Journal des alternatives, the Huffington Post Quebec, or on Rabble.ca and Tweeter(Bilingual)

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