US scholars, health officers discuss HIV prevention

KARONGI -A team of academicians from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the USA is in the country to share with local communities a number ofinnovative and effective communication strategies and interventions to combat HIV/AIDS.

KARONGI -A team of academicians from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the USA is in the country to share with local communities a number of
innovative and effective communication strategies and interventions to combat HIV/AIDS.

They will also discuss how to overcome challenges to family planning and maternal and child health. Yesterday, the US scholars opened a two-week consultative workshop in Karongi District where they advised participants to develop high quality communication programs aimed not only at changing individual behaviour, but also at changing norms at the family and community levels.

“We need to strengthen capacity to develop, implement and evaluate strategic health communications that can reduce the incidence of certain health problems such as HIV,” said Dr Stella Babalola, an Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at the centre of communication programs.

Babalola pointed out various major challenges but noted that there had been a steady decline in the rate of HIV prevalence in Rwanda.

“The progress in decline has been due to the efforts and determination of individuals and organisations that have shown outstanding capacity of leadership,” she said.

The workshop is tailored for high level managers working in public health institutions. It also addresses both planners and /project administrators and managers in various government and non-government organisations.

“At the end of the two weeks, we expect to have adopted more strategies to further combat the HIV scourge,” one of the participants noted.

Statistics indicate that 150,000 Rwandans live with HIV, accounting for a prevalence rate of 3%.

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