NYAMAGABE - The Minister of Health, Dr Richard Sezibera, on Friday, inaugurated a health campaign aimed at promoting voluntary counselling and testing and family planning activities in Nyamagabe District.
The health campaign is being implemented by Population Services International (PSI).
The Minister called on the residents of Kibilizi Sector to embrace Voluntary Counselling and Testing services, stressing that the first step in the AIDS fight is to know one’s status.
“HIV/AIDS should not retard the development of the country, I ask you to go for testing as couples for those who are married so that you are counselled on the measures to take basing on your status,” noted the Minister.
Sezibera said that the availability of antiretroviral drugs has made it possible for people infected with HIV to live productive lives. He said that early diagnosis of virus helps the victim to live much longer.
On Family planning, the Minister pointed out that gone are the days when people relied on God to sustain their families.
Couples, he advised, now have to plan and agree on the number of children they intend to produce and when to have them.
Sezibera called upon residents of Nyamagabe to prepare for a male circumcision campaign that is set to begin soon countrywide.
He explained that recent research shows that circumcision is hygienic and that the risk of contracting HIV for men who are circumcised is reduced by 60 percent.
Zacch Akinyemi, the Country PSI Representative, said that the organisation supports the government so that it can realise its health objectives. PSI intervenes in the area of HIV prevention, counselling and testing.
“We provide condoms and make sure that they are accessible and also train people to make sure that they use them properly,” said Akinyemi.
He expressed satisfaction with the Nyamagabe district leadership, noting that the district is one of the success stories for PSI programmes.
“People who were trained are now running the programme which is a strategy for sustainability to build the capacity of Rwanda partners so they can take over implementation and we can continue to provide technical support to ensure quality of delivery,” he noted.
Akinyemi denied claims that condoms are in short supply; noting that the problem is accessibility. He PSI is working with partners at the district to ensure that the condoms are readily available to the people.