Every hour around 300 people die of AIDS related illnesses, between 30 to 40 of them are children.
Globally there are 34 million people living with HIV and AIDS. Despite significant progress being made sadly last year there were 2.2 million new infections and 1.7 million deaths caused by AIDS related illnesses. Two thirds of those people are living in Commonwealth countries, the majority are in Southern Africa, which includes Zambia.
Education is the key for preventing the spread of HIV, particularly in developing countries such as Zambia. The Butterfly Tree funds a number of initiatives in remote villages. These include workshops to help overcome the stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS, to encourage safe sex and to partake in voluntary testing. Knowing your status is paramount. Recently we provided funds for fifteen community based volunteers to attend training courses, in addition we have funded a workshop for defaulters, people who have been receiving treatment and then stopped after feeling well. These people cause a huge threat to the community. We continue to support mothers who are HIV positive, provide care for their infants and offer support to thousands of orphans effected by the pandemic, most especially children infected with HIV.
Every child has a right to education and yet of greater importance every child should have access to basic healthcare. Health is fundamental and when you are working in one of the poorest countries on the planet adequate healthcare is not readily available. We are currently building a clinic at Mahalululu, where people walk 48 kilometres to get to Mukuni Health Centre. Our aim for 2013 is to provide further outreach health posts, to increase our funding for HIV and AIDS and to further promote peer education for HIV prevention within the schools. Zambia may not reach the Millennium Development Goal in 2015, but we are certainly doing our bit to help them.
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