Community along the Djibouti-Addis Ababa Corridor Marks World AIDS Day
PK12, DJIBOUTI, December 1, 2012—A diverse crowd of approximately 1,000 people gathered in PK12, a major transport hub in the Balbala commune of Djiboutiville, to commemorate World AIDS Day 2012, which carried the theme “Getting to Zero.” The event, which centered around the roadside SafeTStop Resource Center, attracted youth, community men and women, and local government and religious leaders, as well as Ethiopian truck drivers and other mobile workers. Activities included music and interactive drama in Somali and Amharic languages, peer education, condom distribution, HIV counseling and testing (HCT) and an evening movie screening.
“In the past, few people went for an HIV test and those who went didn’t return for their result,” said Zahra Daher, president of Al Hamdou, a women’s association and ROADS partner in PK12. “But now because of activities like this many people attend the health facility and return for their result.”
Added Houssein Houmed, president of Massaba, a youth association also partnering with ROADS Djibouti: "Now we are fully aware of the risks and we are strongly committed to work hard in order to assist our people. We are looking forward to improved access to HTC in the near future in PK12.”
Acting USAID Country Representative Thomas Pope participated in the event. Organizers included the Programme Lutte contre le SIDA/Ministere de la Sante, the Roads to a Healthy Future (ROADS) Project, funded by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Djibouti, and the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force/Horn of Africa Medical Team.
During the day, 52 people—29 male and 23 female—received counseling and testing at PK12 Health Center compared to 31 people in the previous 6 months. The attending counselor said he has never seen such a busy day since he was assigned there in 2010. ROADS Djibouti has scheduled a similar event for December 16, 2012.
ROADS Djibouti strengthens HIV services at PK12 Health Center in addition to Centre Yonis Toussaint (national referral center for HIV and sexually transmitted infections), Paul Faure Hospital (national referral center for tuberculosis) and Einguela Health Center (national referral center for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV). ROADS also strengthens civil society organizations, including associations of women and youth, to play a stronger role in HIV prevention, care and support, linking closely with the public health sector.
In addition to Djibouti, ROADS extends HIV and broader health services along transport corridors in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Funding is through USAID East Africa and bilateral missions.