Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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HIV and maternal health on the agenda as South Sudan celebrates


20 year old Betty and her niece at home (c) Nell Freeman for the Alliance

As the world’s newest country celebrates on Saturday 9 July, Alliance South Sudan is taking the opportunity of being in the world’s spotlight to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, and to advocate for access to services, particularly for HIV positive women.

Back in February, we reported that the Alliance is expanding its programming in South Sudan to reduce HIV related maternal mortality. The project, funded by UKAID for the Department for International Development (DFID), started in October 2010 and focuses on social mobilisation, advocacy and enabling HIV positive women and their families to access effective health services*.

Through this project Alliance South Sudan, working in collaboration with Southern Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission, Ministry of Health, Government of Southern Sudan, and other civil society organizations and partners will be coordinating their own programme of independence celebrations.  

Advocacy activities planned

Among the activities planned is a ‘walk for independence’ involving around 300  women, children, young people and people living with HIV walking through the streets of Juba to the celebration square, dressed in T-shirts, caps and carrying banners of relevant messages.

Three community based organisations (and partners of Alliance South Sudan) will be distributing condoms to the hotels, lodges and hot spots in Juba town.  Radio and television shows will be used to raise issues of HIV and AIDS, and mobile phone operators in Juba will be delivering text messages carrying short HIV and AIDS messaging.

Voluntary testing and counselling (VCT) services will be set up in and around celebrations square in Juba to provide services and raise public awareness on the availability and utilization of this service.

Two giant billboards carrying HIV and AIDS messages will be posted at strategic locations in Juba town and a small team of Key Correspondents will travel to the counties of Kajo-keji, Yei, Nimule, Torit and Bor where independence celebrations will also take place. They will conduct interviews with key health, community and opinion leaders to document issues on HIV and MNCH integration.  Follow their stories on www.healthdev.net

* The DFID MNCH project focuses on four countries in Africa: South Sudan, Kenya, Zambia and Uganda.