Get the facts, get tested and get involved is the theme of MMG Kinsevere mine’s 2014-15 HIV/AIDS awareness campaign.
Launched on Monday to coincide with World AIDS Day, the awareness campaign will continue until the end of January 2015.
While HIV/AIDS prevalence among the general population in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is lower than in other Southern Africa countries*, rates are higher among pregnant women and other at-risk groups as well as in certain communities.**
Highlights of this year’s campaign include community theatre and comedy performances, a community walk and education sessions. Each activity has been designed to raise awareness about prevention, testing and treatment and reduce stigma about the disease.
To encourage people to find out their HIV status, free and confidential testing will be available. Since Kinsevere’s 2013 campaign, more than 1650 employees, contractors and community members have been tested.
Kinsevere General Manager Miles Naude said there was strong support among the mine’s workforce and surrounding communities for the campaign.
“By working together, we have a great opportunity to reduce stigma and raise awareness regarding HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment. These are the first steps towards halting the spread and improving quality of life for those affected by the disease.”
“We have found that many of our employees as well as local community members are now acting as advocates: educating others, encouraging community dialogue and recommending people know their HIV status.
“I commend them for the work they are doing to halt the spread and improving the quality of life for those affected by the disease in Lubumbashi and surrounding areas.”
Kinsevere partnered with local authorities and community organisations on a number of other public health campaigns during 2014, including those targeting Malaria, Ebola and immunisation against preventable diseases such as Polio.
MMG’s Kinsevere mine is located approximately 35 kilometres from Lubumbashi, the capital of Katanga Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
*UN AIDS: http://www.unaids.org/en/regionscountries/countries/democraticrepublicofthecongo
**US AID: http://www.usaid.gov/democratic-republic-congo/global-health
- Ends -