AIDS Program Out Of Action

Out of action? Why? Isn’t AIDS a problem then anymore? Quite the contrary. AIDS is still a problem and the number of people living with AIDS is still growing (in Ingbokolo and the area around the town there are more than 600 known PLWHA or People Living With HIV/AIDS) and the needs of them are huge. Last year we have been in contact with the national AIDS program here in Congo because we wanted to help organize a training for the hospital staff in Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT), Anti-Retro-Viral (ARV) prescription, lab techniques and for pharmacy so that these programs could be started in Adi hospital and PLWHA  would no longer have to go to Arua or Koboko in Uganda to get treatment and care. We could not organize it, because the fees were raised several times when we were negotiating and they went beyond our budget. The training still has to take place.

Plans for micro-credit projects were made, but not all of these have been realized and that means that money for this is still left, though in another kitty.

Orphaned kids in the four health zones who were supported by the program with their school fees now have to raise them themselves.

All the ongoing activities to create awareness about AIDS in the four health zones of Adi, Ariwara, Adja and Aru have been put on hold as well. No more radio broadcasts, not more film shows, no more visits to churches or schools, no more…

Last week we had to send the animators and our administrative personnel home after having paid them their dues.

Why? Just because the funding period has ended. There is no more money to continue the work. And everyone felt sad about it. A ministry that has started to reach out has been short-circuited because the funding is no longer there.

What now? Of course…the search for money to fund the project has started. I am browsing the internet to see where there are organizations or individuals who can fund our activities. Then letters of applications have to be written and a signature of the church president is needed on those applications.

Also, there are some loose ends to complete. Like writing a report of the use of the money for micro-credit projects to AIM. And because there is some money left, I need to see with the local churches how to use the rest of this money. For me there is still work to do before I return to The Netherlands on home-assignment (or furlough) in July.

I hope to be able to leave saying that activities have been restarted because funding has been given.



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