Vitória, heroine of the village

Annual Report of UNICEF Mozambique 2014
Goood daaay...Dear listeners of “The voice of the Children” program, conducted by Aurora and Vitória, brought to you from the Community Radio in our school.

Dear Vitória, today we will discuss a very important subject that should be everyone’s responsibility and concern to know.

Well, of course Aurora, today we will talk about HIV and AIDS, and how it affects children and pregnant women.

That’s right, Vitória. This talk is meant for children and their families. I think they will have a better understanding about this disease and how we can achieve a long, healthy life in spite of it being an illness with no cure.

Alright then, let’s begin with today’s program.

The HIV virus is the one that causes AIDS. It can be transmitted from one person to another.

As I said before, the cure for this disease hasn’t been discovered yet, but it can be treated so people can live a long life.

HIV is transmitted in the following ways: Unprotected sex, mother to child transmission during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding, blood transfusion, unsterilized syringes, needles, knives or sharp objects repeatedly used by people infected with the virus.

The HIV virus is not transmitted by mosquito bites, hugging or kissing, or by sharing the same cutlery, plates or cups.

A person infected with the HIV virus can live many years without knowing he or she is infected, and can unknowingly infect other people, even the ones they love most.

It is important that the husband and wife get tested for HIV voluntarily. If you love yourself and your family, getting tested is a sign of responsibility and love. If you are HIV positive it is better to go to a health center where you can receive the counseling and treatments necessary to fight the disease.

It is also important that people that are HIV positive are supported by their families and community.

Discrimination, exclusion and abandonment is inhumane, a family must always stay united.

Annual Report of UNICEF Mozambique 2014That is how the program that I share with Aurora develops. We were both invited to collaborate in the Community Radio. We took a chance to share the ideas and opinions and we shared with our classmates, our community members, and project them towards thousands of children and young people all over our country. It was Julia who gave us our first chance at this, even though we didn’t know her personally. She has been our adviser in order to produce our programs in high quality. Julia herself, is a girl who is not afraid to say what she thinks, but always in a respectful manner, and I like that.

In the beginning, we would send ten-minute cuts for Julia’s program, but the audience began liking our participation and now we have our own program which is transmitted twice a week through our Community Radio in Portuguese and our local language.

Annual Report of UNICEF Mozambique 2014We talk about all sorts of things, but especially children’s rights, nutrition, health and community sanitation. We are becoming more and more popular. I get nervous, but we both like that the community knows who we are. We love helping people and being their voice.

My parents and my neighbours are very proud and happy with us. Two weeks ago we did an interview to the District Administrator over the phone and he told us that he listened to our program and encouraged us to continue. Our “Bradas Club” in the radio is also growing and I take this chance to invite all boys and girls to come and participate in the club.

Aurora and I have many dreams, we were invited to participate in a training at the headquarters of Radio Mozambique in Maputo, on techniques in developing Child to Child radio programs. We are very happy and nervous at the same time for the chance of knowing the big city. I think we will learn a lot from the experience.

To finish this story I will leave you with some poetry that talks about children’s health, I hope you enjoy.

I HAVE A DREAM WHICH IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE

I have a dream that is not impossible,
Of children free of diseases that are transmissible,
I think my dream is quite plausible,
With decisions that are right and of good level.

There’s a perfect world with responsible adults,
Who aren’t exposed to incurable diseases,
It is not enough being attractive,
You have to be smart to remain alive.

I wish to give adults some healthy advice,
It is better to get tested early than to later on cry.
I have a dream that is a possible dream,
Of children free of HIV and AIDS,
Capable of living long and healthy lives.
I have a dream we all can share,
To avoid treatments it is better to take care.

 

RESULTS: HIV and AIDS with the support of UNICEF

In 2014, UNICEF supported the Government in expanding the services of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT), including Option B+ (simplified treatment protocols which improve retention and reduce the mother-to-child transmission rate), in Tete, Maputo, Niassa, Sofala and Zambézia provinces, through training sessions, supervision and monitoring of anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment for the nurses of the Mother and Child Health services (SMI). This contributed to significant progress in the country with a view to eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV are available in 82% (1,213) of the 1,485health units, offering ante-natal consultations throughout the country. Ninety-seven (97) percentof HIV-positive pregnant women are receiving prophylaxis for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission. Eighty-seven (87) percent of them have received ARV for PMTCT (Option B).

UNICEF, in partnership with the Clinton Foundation (CHAI), is continuing to contribute to the expansion and improvement of early diagnosis through technological innovation, by means of a national network of SMS printers which allows the immediate delivery of the results of early infant diagnosis in the peripheral units. The rapid return of the results guarantee that children infected with HIV begin treatment as quickly as possible, thus helping to save more lives. This contributed to ensuring that, by the end of 2014, 60,768 children under the age of 15 had access to anti-retroviral treatment, which corresponds to a 50% coverage of all eligible children. Ninety-five (95) of all the PCR results were sent by SMS printers. However, the rate of coverage of children remains below the anti-retroviral coverage for adults (79%).

UNICEF also contributed to the inclusion of adolescents (10-14 years of age), as a priority population for HIV prevention in the new HIV National Strategic Plan for the Response 2015-2019.

In Beira, UNICEF supported community involvement and the involvement of groups of adolescent peer educators in HIV prevention, counselling and testing, access to anti-retroviral treatment, as well as adolescent and youth friendly health services (SAAJ).


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