Category Archives: HIV / AIDS

9 Last-Minute Virtual Valentine’s Day Gifts for Good

Valentine's Day 1

If you’re like many of us you may have waited until the very last-minute to buy your loved ones Valentine’s Day gifts. While you can still run out and buy a wealth of flowers, cards, and chocolates, here are nine virtual Valentines’s Day gifts you can give that also give back.

Oxfam Unwrapped: Oxfam recommends giving duos of animals for Valentine’s Day: a pair of chickens ($18), a pair of sheep ($80) or a pair of goats ($100).  Send lovely animals to families in need.

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation: EGPAF is asking its lovely supporters to send Valentine’s Day e-cards to spread awareness about pediatric AIDS. It costs nothing, but the gift of awareness is always key. Click here to spread the love.

Midwives for Haiti: We all believe in the power of saving mothers’ lives. This Valentine’s Day donate to Midwives for Haiti and help them stock their medicinal chest with life-saving medicines for the entire year. Donate with love to Midwives for Haiti.

Vaccine Ambassadors: There is no doubt that vaccines save lives. Vaccines are one of the best ways to show love for children around the world. Buy vaccines with love for children whose lives can be saved by this easy intervention. $10 vaccinates 19 children against the measles.

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Zambians Head to the Polls: Candidates’ Stance on Health Care

This morning as most Americans were asleep Zambians headed to the polls to elect either the candidate of the ruling party, Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front founded in 1991 by the late President Michael Sata, or the leading opposition candidate representing the United Party for National Development, Hakainde Hichilema. Political observers say the race is close and there is no definitive leader at this point. Polls close at 6 PM Central African Time Zone.

Zambia one of the leaders on the continent of copper production along with the DRC and both candidates disagree about taxing mining companies that employ many Zambians in the Copper Belt according to Al Jazeera.  A contentious subject, Lungu believes the copper companies should be heavily taxed while Hichilema believes taxes on the companies should not increase which could cause mine closures that could in turn hemorrhage workers. As expected, both candidates have promised increased job creation and more aid to poor, rural Zambians across the country, a move that researchers at the London School of Economics say is key to helping elect African politicians. Most African politicians favored overwhelming urban campaigning to curb urban violence during election time, but have quickly learned that re-election proves difficult without the rural vote.

Hichilema is running to increase the number of frontline health workers and to improve training and respecting health workers. The United Party for National Development’s health provisions range from decreasing taxes on health care and medicines and providing free care to poor Zambians to increasing the number of frontline health workers. Of note, the UPND has placed an emphasis on fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS.

The Patriotic Front has created a Health Services Provision that lays out in six parts how the party will improve Zambia’s health care system starting with every Zambian’s right to quality health care. The Patriotic Front is also committed to better education and working conditions for health workers based on the contents of the Provision.  It  also calls for a realignment of the Mother and Child function.

Health care is an important issue for a country that has a maternal mortality rate of 591 out of 100,000 live births (one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world ) and mortality for children under the age of five is 119 per 1,000 according to UNICEF.

Thus far copper mining, which accounts for more than 86 percent of Zambia’s foreign direct investment and has made Zambia the eighth largest producer of copper, seems to be primary on the political agenda. After the election, only time will tell if health care, particularly maternal and child health, can compete with the copper industry and job creation.

Photo: www.facebook.com/hakainde.hichilema

 

 

5 of Our Partners Who Continue to Work in Haiti #Haiti5Years

In an earlier piece today, How is Haiti Faring Five Years After the Earthquake, development and recovery effort data and details were rather pessimistic. The numbers bear out that while some overall development achievements have been met, there is still a long way to go to help Haiti fully recover. And, yet, there continues to be successes all over Haiti. Our partners are helping to make these successes happen.

SOS Children’s Villages 

On January 10, 2015, SOS Children’s Villages opened its third village for orphaned children in Les Cayes, Haiti. 63 children will be provided a home. For over 30 years, SOS Children’s Villages has provided family-based care and education programs in Santo and Cap-Haïtien, Haiti. Immediately following the earthquake SOS Children’s Villages took in 400 orphaned children and fed 24,000 children every day.

“The biggest challenge for SOS Children’s Villages during the earthquake was to find a way to welcome these children because the village was too small,” said Celigny Darius, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages – Haiti. “We installed temporary houses to enable us to take them in.”

In addition to the opening of its third village, SOS Children’s Villages has invested in six schools to renew education on the island. And 3000 children receive support through their community centers.

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How PSI Keeps Sex Workers Safe in Haiti

By Ashley Judd, PSI Global Ambassador

A woman will do whatever is needed to feed her family.

In a brothel in downtown Port Au Prince, you see just that. Twenty women, all of them mothers, were clustered in the front room. The cement walls were sparsely decorated with stenciled yellow stars.

With few options but with families counting on them, these women sell their bodies. They know it’s dangerous. They know the risks. But for them the alternative for their families – homelessness, hunger, hopelessness — is worse. PSI tries to keep them safe.

A PSI lab tech is in the room. She covers a table with gauze. She lays out gloves, testing kits for syphilis and HIV and a bio waste receptacle.

Nadege – who once sold her body, but found work through PSI as a health educator — walks to the center of the room. As she speaks, some women take turns getting their blood drawn.

Thank you for your past support of PSI’s work. You are the kind of person who understands why we must help these women live healthier lives and create better futures for their children. Make a tax-deductible donation to fund the efforts of PSI-trained health workers like Nadege. For a short time, your donation will be matched through a $200,000 challenge gift from PSI’s board of directors.

Fedeline, a quiet woman with a shy smile, comes here every morning. She rents her small room for $6 US a day and gets paid $5 per client.

She works to take care of her son Widney and pay for his education. But she admits that she’s terrified each time she sees a client. She says, “You don’t know if the guy is a good guy or a bad guy. You just have to do it.”

She’s also afraid of STIs like HIV. “If you don’t use a condom, you can get viruses. But we have Nadege. She comes and does the tests for us. She’s one of us.”

At PSI, we believe that every person deserves a chance to live a healthy life. We go into hot spots like brothels and provide HIV testing and counseling free of charge. Preventing illness among women like Fedeline is imperative to a healthy community.

Support this important work. For a short time, your donation will go twice as far through this generous challenge match.

Thank you.

Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd is a celebrated American actress and humanitarian. She became an ambassador for PSI in 2002 and served as a board member from 2004 to 2013.