Zambia: New vehicles to boost HIV/AIDS outreach of UN Volunteers
24 April 2006
Lusaka, Zambia: UN Volunteers working with Zambia’s National AIDS Council are now able to extend their services to the remotest parts of the country, thanks to 54 vehicles recently given by UNDP and the World Bank.
The vehicles will provide the national UN Volunteers - working as District AIDS Coordination Advisors - the necessary means to support HIV/AIDS prevention activities at the district level.
With a total landmass of 752,614 square kilometres, Zambia is larger than the United Kingdom, Greece, Austria, Guyana and Hungary combined. Its size, paired with limited road infrastructure and public transport in rural areas, has posed an enormous challenge in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“I know from personal experience that the vehicles we are handing over today are indeed sorely needed,” said Aeneas C. Chuma, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, at the handover ceremony on 13 April. “Lack of transport has been one of the most serious bottlenecks for implementing the National HIV/AIDS Intervention Strategic Plan.”
In the district of Kapiri Mposhi, which covers 45,000 sq km – bigger than Denmark – UN Volunteer Elias Nkhuwa, the District Coordination AIDS Advisor, says transport is the biggest challenge of his work. "Because of lack of transport we confine ourselves to the district centre,” says Nkhuwa. “Some of the parts of the district are virtually inaccessible. Meanwhile, these are places that need urgent attention.”
One of the most significant elements of UNDP’s support to Zambia in combating HIV/AIDS has been the inclusion of national UN Volunteers at the district level. Since 2004, UN Volunteers have been supporting the National AIDS Council in carrying out its fact-track response to HIV/AIDS.
With funding from UNDP, national UN Volunteers work with each District AIDS Task Force to enhance the coordination and monitoring of HIV/AIDS activities at the district level. The volunteers also work directly with community members and groups to develop community-based initiatives and provide assistance in securing funding and training.
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