Namibia Launches HIV/AIDS Information Booklet in Braille
Namibia on Tuesday launched an information booklet on HIV/AIDS in Braille in an effort to reach blind and visually impaired people, Namibia's New Era reports. The booklet, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and is titled "HIV and AIDS Action Now," includes information on the virus, transmission, prevention, symptoms, voluntary counseling and testing, antiretroviral drugs and stigma and discrimination. According to New Era, information such as expiration dates on condoms also should be translated into Braille to aid in HIV prevention. Targeting the hearing impaired with HIV prevention messages is more difficult because of the challenges of training people as sign language interpreters, Naftal Hamata, director of health and social services for Namibia's Oshana Region, said. Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who launched the booklet, said, "Access to information is key to anyone's life and unless we produce Braille in different information materials and train people in sign language, the visually impaired, the deaf and hard of hearing will have no access to required information." In addition, Nandi-Ndaitwah called on the disabled community, as well as the government and other organizations, to incorporate people with disabilities into the national HIV/AIDS control campaign, which is more than 10 years old. Tuliki Nekundi of the Rehabilitation Centre at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia said many people with disabilities have died of AIDS-related illnesses because they are left out of the country's HIV prevention campaign. She added that the country will not meet its HIV prevention goals unless people with disabilities are included in the campaign (Tjaronda, New Era, 8/31).
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