New HIV/AIDS project in Nchengele district

A new MSF HIV/AIDS project is to start at the end of March in the Nchengele district of Zambia.
The people in the district depend for their livelihood on fishing in lake Mweru and, during the fishing season, many people come to the shores of the lake. During that period they live in temporary camps where there is hardly any medical infrastructure. Apart from this annual migration, the region has had to deal with some 12,000 refugees from the neighbouring DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). It is not clear to what extent AIDS has spread among this mixed population. AIDS prevention in the district at the moment is in the hands of a task force composed of various government authorities, civil organisations and traditional healers are represented. MSF staff aim to combine information about HIV/AIDS with testing for the disease and counselling of people who are infected. An information centre will be set up, along with a laboratory for testing blood. MSF personnel will train the medical staff of the centre, together with 40 counsellors and an undetermined number of volunteers who will give information on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in the various communities. The MSF team in Zambia hopes that the project will help the refugees in the DRC to become better integrated with the local community.