UNDP campaign to stop the spread of AIDS
In the region Belize is among the countries with the highest cases of AIDS. To bring the numbers down, a mass media campaign was launched today targeting youths to make positive choices in respect of their sexual reproductive health. The campaign is being organized by the National committee for families and children and the United Nations Development Program. News Five Isani Cayetano has this report.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Choose & Use, Wait & No Worry, the mantras of two newly launched mass media campaigns, aim at engaging young men and women in raising awareness for behavioral and social change. Under the sixth item on the list of Millennium Development Goals, an effort is being made to stop and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS. The campaigns are part of the education process.
Dr. Martin Cuellar, Executive Director, National AIDS Commission
“The first campaign is targeting one particular group that we identify as being particularly vulnerable and that is young girls, who are pre-sexual activity, between eleven and thirteen years of age. The other group is completely separate and that campaign is also separate. That second campaign is targeting young people who are more adult, those between eighteen and above and in that campaign we are promoting the idea of reducing the number of sexual partners and consistent use of condoms. So they are indeed two different messages and they are targeting two different groups within the Belizean population.”
Speaking to a gathering of students from across the country this morning was Jay Coombs, program analyst for the United Nations Development Program.
Jay Coombs, Program Analyst, United Nations Development Program
“This communication campaign launch is part of a larger project entitled, “Accelerating the pace, reaching marginalized and vulnerable populations with critical services.” This project is being implemented by all the partners you hear, the Government of Belize, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) with funding from the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It is a grant under Round Nine Funding of the Global Fund. This communication campaign is part of a wider strategy and the reason I mentioned all the other organizations that are involved is simply to say they are all a part of ensuring that young people are reached and their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS is reduced.”
The idea, says Dr. Martin Cuellar of the National AIDS Commission, is to go beyond the mass media blitz.
“This campaign is a start of what we’re considering a year of prevention focus in 2013. So there will be other campaigns developed in the next couple of months and there will be other initiatives being implemented by our partner agencies that will compliment and support the impact of these messages that we are launching today. So the idea is that they will not stand alone and that’s where we want to do other initiatives, not just mass media campaigns but other initiatives that include parenting lessons, parenting sessions, for example those being done through our partners at the Ministry of Education.”
Today’s launch was a collaborative effort between the National Committee for Families and Children and the United Nations Development Program. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.