FRW news in brief

    | August 25, 2014

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    Farm Radio Weekly has a new trial resource for you: Farmer news briefs. These are stories from across the continent which have been adapted from print or online sources and are suitable for use in your regular farm radio program. Read them, edit them, broadcast them, localize them, or simply use them as background info. Want more details? Click the link under the story to see the original article.

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    1-Sierra Leone: College radio informs listeners about Ebola

    Sierra Leone is now at the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Access to affected villages has been hampered by rain and poor roads, but also by rumour and fear.

    Radio has an essential role to play by providing accurate information in local languages, and engaging local leaders to help people understand how to avoid spreading the disease.

    Independent radio stations have been quick to mobilize in response to the outbreak. They are working together to produce and broadcast programming that responds to the acute need for more information on Ebola.

    At Cotton Tree News-Radio in the capital, Freetown, a team of professional and student journalists are reporting on Ebola and hosting live debates which bring together decision-makers and members of national and local governments.

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    2-Guinea: Discouraging bushmeat consumption

    Medical teams struggling to curb Ebola in West Africa are discouraging people from eating bushmeat, as some believe this may have caused the outbreak.

    A number of factors have contributed to the spread of Ebola, including poor knowledge and superstition, especially in rural communities; cross-border movement; and poor public health infrastructure.

    But some rural communities are determined to continue their traditional practices. A resident of Nongoha village in Guéckédou says, “Animal husbandry is not widespread here because bushmeat is easily available. Banning bushmeat means a new way of life, which is unrealistic.”

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    3-Africa: Stigma of AIDS still a major barrier to addressing disease

    Though West Africa’s massive Ebola outbreak has been dominating the global health spotlight, HIV and AIDS remain enormous issues in Africa.

    Uganda’s anti-LGBT environment may explain the nation’s significant increase in new HIV infections, a trend that − with the exception of Angola − has been reversed in most other African nations.

    Dr. Deborah Birx is the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading all U.S. government international efforts in HIV and AIDS relief. She says, “The AIDS pandemic in southern Africa is the primary cause of death for adolescents, and the primary killer of young women.”

    U.S. President Barack Obama recently pledged $200 million U.S. to 10 African countries to help double the number of children on life-saving anti-retroviral drugs.

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    4-Mozambique: Coping with HIV and AIDS?

    Mozambique is struggling to contain the HIV epidemic, with one in ten of its 24 million people infected.

    Only 60 per cent of Mozambicans have access to health services. There are an average of five doctors and 25 nurses per 100,000 people in Mozambique. In neighbouring South Africa, the ratio is 55 doctors and 383 nurses.

    Recently, the United Nations ranked Mozambique 178th of 187 countries in terms of human development. Life expectancy is only 50 years, 70 per cent of the population live in poverty, and an estimated 56,000 women are newly infected with HIV each year.

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