Army launches HIV/AIDS strategy

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), in conjunction with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), has launched a five-year strategic plan for HIV/AIDS control in the armed forces with a two-week training course for 26 HIV/AIDS educators, UNMEE announced in the capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.

An UNMEE statement said the course, being attended by 24 ENDF members, two participants from UNMEE, of whom one is military and the other civilian, and facilitated by three UNMEE and two Ethiopian staff members, aims to develop an action plan on HIV/AIDS education. This was part of a US $2 million programme on HIV/AIDS prevention and control, the head of the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat, Dagnachew Hailemariam, told a press conference on Monday. The head of health services of the ENDF, Yigeremu Abebe, said the necessary resources for the HIV/AIDS control strategy had been mobilized. The strategy aims to contain the spread of the disease at all levels of the army (95 percent of whose members are men and the rest women), and the training of the educators is an attempt to streamline ongoing efforts within the army. "The Ethiopian Defense Forces have given much attention to HIV/AIDS control... This training is important, because peer education is very plausible in the army because of the way we live," Yigeremu told the press conference.