UNMISS provides HIV/AIDS training in Bentiu

17 Apr 2013

UNMISS provides HIV/AIDS training in Bentiu

15 April 2013 – The UNMISS HIV/AIDS unit kicked off a three-week-long training for counselors today in Bentiu in collaboration with the Unity State government's Ministry of Health and the South Sudan HIV/AIDS Commission.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the training, the commission's Unity State director Paul Mabany revealed the results of a recent survey during the initial three months of this year that found an HIV infection rate of nearly 14 per cent among the 1,031 people who were tested in Bentiu and the towns of Koch and Leer.

"It is alarming," said Mr. Mabany. "We (must not) keep quiet. Everywhere (you go), you need to talk about HIV/AIDS."

The training will focus on the prevention of infection, care and support for patients afflicted with the disease and management strategy. About 40 people attended the opening ceremony and represented the state government's ministries of health and education, the country's armed forces, religious groups, the South Sudan Red Cross and the South Sudan Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Commission.

Dr. Michael Munywoki, head of the UNMISS HIV/AIDS Unit, said counseling was a key tool in HIV prevention. The training is intended to provide participants with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to conduct one-on-one counseling as well as group therapy counseling and community counseling.

UNMISS Unity State Coordinator Kenneth Payumo urged participants to educate other people in their communities on HIV/AIDS prevention and care.

"You do not (attend) this training just to get a certificate," he said. "You come to get knowledge and skills that you will share with your communities."