News / Africa

Agriculture and Healthcare Come Together to Fight HIV/AIDS

Ethiopia Africa Food ProductionEthiopia Africa Food Production
x
Ethiopia Africa Food Production
Ethiopia Africa Food Production

Multimedia

Audio
Kim Lewis
An international company that processes agricultural products and food ingredients, and who also has a presence in Africa, teamed up with NGO partners in a drive connected to World HIV/AIDS Day, which occurs every year on December first.  The drive—in line with the World Aids Day strategy of getting to zero in terms of new infections, deaths from HIV/AIDS, and discrimination—was met with widespread participation.

This year, the London based global agri-business company, Olam International, mobilized its supply chain network to get vital education and healthcare support out to people across rural Africa in a unique fashion, by combining agriculture with healthcare. 

Chris Brett is the senior vice-president of Olam International.  He said that while the company is heading into its fifth year of addressing the AIDS epidemic as a global issue, this year the company reached a record 234,000 people in Africa who were able to benefit from the campaign.

“Olam has an outreach of 28 countries in Africa, and we work as you say with small-scale farmer supply chains.  But importantly as well, with our own processing units which are based in the rural areas,” explained Brett, who said his company has that connection with local communities for food processing.  Then, on a second level, there is the interest in reaching these communities regarding HIV/AIDs awareness.

“HIV/AIDS is very important at the level of our employees, and then of course at the levels of the communities, and the farmers we work [with] and support.  Over the last few years, we have been developing programs which started off as basic awareness, and have been evolving from there,” stated Brett.

Because Olam is based in communities, it gives local NGO’s the opportunity to link into the Olam systems, where they can reach farmers and employees. 

Brett pointed out one interesting aspect of the partnering with NGO’s is that they were able to reach many women. “We have a huge number of women that work in our processing units,” said Brett.  He explained that Olam, in collaboration with NGO’s such as GIZ, a German corporation unit, and USAID, was able not only to bring AIDS awareness to employees, but also to let them know, through testing, their actual HIV status.

“So we ran a theme from our second, third year of support of HIV/AIDS, to basically get people to understand their status, which was a big barrier to cross.  And this was given a lot of support through the NGO’s outreach and community workers.  And we gave the opportunity for people then to be tested, and obviously as the result comes out, how we go forward with that in terms of counseling, and then the supply of retro-viral drugs and so on.”

Brett said the program is not a one-day program, but rather a long term campaign that will continue with the support of the community and local NGO’s.  He said it is important for people to understand the link between agriculture and healthcare in preventing and living with HIV/AIDS.

You May Like

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs