New Project Launched to Stop HIV/AIDS Spread in Swaziland

October 8, 2002 • Climate Change & Mitigation, Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Reproductive Health, Serial Dramas, News

Shelburne, VT– In a country where infection rates are soaring, three popular television programs may prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. The United Nations Development Program-Swaziland has asked Population Media Center (PMC) to work with three television shows, Swazi View, Coca Cola What’s Up?, and the evening news, to build their capacity for entertainment-education with regard to reproductive health issues.

In October 2002, a PMC team will hold two workshops in Swaziland, one October 8-10 and the other October 14-25. The first workshop, a three-day strategy development session, led by PMC Vice President Kriss Barker and Ethiopian country Representative Dr. Negussie Teffera, will have representatives from various organizations meeting to present their individual communication strategies, approaches and activities. The participants will then create a national communications strategy for HIV/AIDS to guide all organizations and government ministries and bring overall coordination.

The second is a two-week workshop, led by entertainment-education specialist Tom Kazungu, TV producer and trainer Andrea Grayson, and Kriss Barker, to train the creative teams from the three television shows in entertainment-education methodologies and productions skills.
Swaziland is in urgent need of a communications strategy to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS. With approximately 38% of the adult population HIV positive, Swaziland has the second highest HIV infection rate in the world. Thirty four percent of pregnant women are HIV positive, and the disease has led to large numbers of orphans. In fact, 10,000 Swazi children are likely to be newly orphaned every year over the coming decade. Among people with STDs, 70% are HIV positive, and among those with TB, 80% are HIV positive. The disease has afflicted 90% of all people occupying hospital beds.

PMC is a non-profit organization committed to creating social change through broadcast media around the world. Specifically, PMC focuses on motivating people to have smaller families through family planning, increasing HIV/AIDS prevention awareness, and elevating the status of women. In addition to Swaziland, PMC has work in progress throughout Latin America, Asia, North America, and other African countries, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Mali, Ivory Coast, and Sudan.

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