Helping to prevent the transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS is a key aspect of our work. Zambia is one of the countries worst hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In 2010, 120,000 children were estimated to be infected with HIV/AIDS- 90% of whom had been infected by their mother, either during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding (UNAIDS 2010). More than one in seven young adults, aged 15-49 are estimated to be HIV positive (WHO, Dec 2010), a prevalence rate which is three times higher than the average for the continent of Africa. Life expectancy in Zambia is just 39 (CIA World Factbook, 2009).
Our work currently focuses on the Southern Province, which has the highest rural HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in Zambia, and our aim is to mitigate the reality of these statistics. SAPEP works with local hospitals, health clinics and community projects to help sensitise and empower communities. Targeting young adults is crucial as this is the group at the optimum age to work, provide for the country, care for the elderly and bring up the next generation. With more than one in seven infected, sick or dying, it is critical that people understand the importance of being tested, and are empowered to access and adhere to treatment that could keep them alive, healthy and able to perform their roles for longer. As recently as 2010 it was estimated that 64% of 15-24 year olds in Zambia had no knowledge about the truth of HIV/AIDS (WHO, Dec 2010), showing that our peer education initiatives to combat myths and misconceptions surrounding the virus are still vitally needed. Treatment to prevent mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV can make a huge difference and so facilitation in this area is another key way in which SAPEP and PEPAIDS contribute to the future prosperity of Zambia.
“Through our own experience in various rural communities we have found considerable variability in their understanding. Whilst some women are up to date with the facts about HIV prevention and treatment others seem to know very little. Those who were regular attendees to SAPEP group meetings and health talks appeared to have significantly more knowledge than new members”.
(Rachel Allin and Susan Jackson, Kulyaaba Health Volunteers 2011)
PEPAIDS has been providing students and healthcare professionals with elective placements in Africa since 2002. Currently our focus is in Zambia, and medical, nursing and midwifery students in particular have found our placements to be a fascinating and enlightening experience.
Your Kulyaaba Experience!
As a student or healthcare professional your Kulyaaba placement will afford you an incredible insight into the factors influencing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. You will learn about the life issues that affect the ability of Zambian people to manage their own health and you will see how Zambian healthcare initiatives have evolved and strive to address those issues. You will learn about anti-retroviral treatment (ART), current issues and trends affecting its efficacy as well as getting the opportunity to put your own skills into practice and deliver some teaching on a chosen subject.
Clinical and Field Placements
PEPAIDS has good links with the Monze Mission Hospital in Zambia as well as a number of other clinics in the area. On your Kulyaaba Health placement you will be able to undertake clinical placements as well as field placements, which are essential if you are to gain a true insight into the issues that affect the nation’s health.
PEPAIDS aims to make your placement count in Zambia! Not only will your Kulyaaba placement be an incredible learning experience for you, but we want you to bring your knowledge and skills to help capacity-build our outreach team and communities in Zambia. Zambians do not have access to regular or up-to-date training and our team in Zambia really value input from volunteers to keep their knowledge current. We’d love you to design teaching material that can also be used to teach and empower African communities.
PEPAIDS and SAPEP personnel will be able to support you in planning your placement and designing and researching your teaching material. The Medical Superintendant at Monze Mission Hospital will be able to sign off medical students’ elective placements and PEPAIDS has a qualified nurse mentor who can sign off nursing competencies.
Due to circumstances, we are unfortunately not able to offer volunteer placements in Zambia at Present!