God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

POZ Magazine: AIDS Draws “Red Card” at World Cup

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has launched its “red card” campaign with the support of international soccer stars “to ensure an HIV-free generation by the 2014 FIFA World Cup” in Brazil, according to a UNAIDS statement. The goal is to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mother to child. The campaign title refers to the red card a soccer referee gives a player to eject him or her from a game.

The UNAIDS statement:

New global initiative at the FIFA World Cup shines spotlight on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV

JOHANNESBURG, 12 June 2010—A new campaign is using the power and outreach of football to unite the world around a common cause—preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child. Launched today in South Africa by the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, international musician Akon, UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador and producer of the World Cup opening ceremony, Lebo M, UNAIDS National Goodwill Ambassador, Jimmie Earl Perry, and Kirsten Nematandani, President of the South African Football Association. The campaign aims to ensure an HIV-free generation by the 2014 FIFA World Cup to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Each year, an estimated 430 000 babies are born with HIV globally, the large majority in Africa. Over the course of a 90-minute football match, nearly 80 babies will become newly infected with HIV. In many parts of Africa, AIDS-related illness is the leading cause of death among infants and young children.

Through the campaign—backed by international football stars and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassadors Michael Ballack of Germany and Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo—captains of 32 World Cup qualifying teams have been invited to sign the appeal: “From Soweto to Rio de Janeiro, give AIDS the red card and prevent babies from becoming infected with HIV.” Nineteen captains have already signed on, including host country South Africa and defending champion Italy.

“By the next football World Cup we can virtually eliminate HIV transmission to babies,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé who attended the campaign launch in South Africa. “Let us give AIDS the red card permanently.”

The lives of mothers and their babies can be saved through a combination of HIV testing and counselling, access to effective antiretroviral prophylaxis and treatment, safer delivery practices, family planning, and counselling and support for optimal infant feeding practices.

An estimated 33.4 million people are living with HIV worldwide. Since 2001, there has been a 17% reduction in new HIV infections globally. However, for every two people who access antiretroviral treatment, five more become newly infected with HIV.


UNAIDS New York | Richard Leonard | +1 646 666 8003 | LeonardR@unaids.org
UNAIDS South Africa | Sheba Okwenje | +127 11 517 1634 | okwenjeb@unaids.org

Source: http://www.poz.com/rssredir/articles/unaids_red_card_1_18571.shtml


Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Prevention, HIV Treatment, Medical and Research, Society and living environment, , ,

03.02.2010 Friends are there for…

…letting thoughts flow. A wonderful and more spontaneous luncheon with a friend where I was able to take a breath and to talk about personal things which really moved me in the moment. It feels like a blessing to be able to share when heart and mind creates a rollercoaster situation.  🙂

Otherwise I spend the morning with young journalists from Germany – organised by the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”. We went to visit a primary health care facility in Mfuleni, one of our patients at home and then went to Tygerberg Academic Children’s Hospital and HOPE Cape Town to discuss current issues. The journalists already had meetings with important people like the German Ambassador Dieter Haller and Premier Helen Zille. Their task is it to gather background information about South Africa before the Soccer World cup 2010 starts. And it is difficult. As I heard there is either painted a rosy picture of South Africa in anticipation of the sports event – and it seems that nobody is allowed to say a critical word about some areas of concern – or people condemn and warn of security failure and the horrendous crime rates. It seems in the moment, there is only black and white at our disposal – and I think, this is simply wrong. South Africa has, like all other nations a variety of gray – yes, we have crime and the statistics are shocking, but yes, hundred thousands of tourists are visiting South Africa every year  and most of them are going home with a positive impression and lots of good experience. Yes, there are concerns, also security concerns – but yes, there are also lots of efforts to make 2010 a success for South Africa and Africa. Yes, the price structure of some airlines and hotels are indeed rather reminding us of gangsterism, on the other hand – there will be enough good deals closer to the time. We have to be honest brokers of the realities of South Africa. I concede, the realities are not that easy to read and interpret often – but only if we see and communicate all the potential for success, but also not forget the pitfalls – South Africa is like any other nation made out of humans and human structures… Nothing wrong about it.

The stadiums are ready – the people get more enthusiastic, upgrades of roads and transport systems are driving us South Africans crazy every day we commute to town, the soccer world cup 2010 will be a success – the African way and that is indeed good so…  Such events also help to highlight the shortcomings of a country – but which country has no shortcomings??

So I hope that the journalists went back to their hotel with the impression, that they got an honest assessment of the situation without politics or diplomacy tainting the picture. I think there is no need. Looking back to the last years there is surely more sun than shadow – and the way, South Africa will choose will anyhow only decided after the world cup circus will move on.

One is for sure: the soccer world cup 2010 prevented South Africa and its young democracy to  dip deeper into trouble during the developing times, when we have to learn how to organise us as such a democracy. The soccer world cup 2010 was and is the necessary nail to stop destructive development. My South African part tells me that nothing is decided yet when it comes to the future of South Africa, but one thing is for sure: the potential to create a home for all and a stable democracy is at hand, but in our times, all countries are interdependent as the global recession has again shown. So the future of South Africa also hangs in the balance with the other states and nations of this world. I will remain optimistic and realistic. A realistic optimist or an optimistic realist.. whatever is necessary in the next years to come…

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Networking, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

27.01.2010 a normal day..

Standing up at 6h10 this morning, and being at the office before 7am. First checking emails & news before going to town. Meeting with my co-operation partner Anja Tambusso Ferraz from the Southern African – German Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Petra Reichwein from the Mediterranean Villa to discuss the next Ball of HOPE, to be held on the 22nd of May 2010 at the Westin Grand Hotel. A bit later our musical director Adolf Thelen joins to discuss the musical arrangements. After that planing for the service on Ash Wednesday for the Holy Cross Primary School in Brooklyn.  Back to the office and working on reducing the stable of papers, files and folders on the desk, answering letters, phone calls before heading off again to an interview regarding a volunteer position during soccer world cup 2010. I am considered for a “protocol position” and faced with 3 interviewers I try to answer all the questions. It is amazing to sit again in an interview on the side with the one chair.. 🙂

Back to the office, more phone calls, more paper work, some preparations for tomorrow for a talk and some meetings and at 6pm home, only to meet with friends at 7 for dinner. Back home at 9h30 pm – some reading of theological nature and now the blog and a last check on emails. Preparing some papers for the senior staff meeting of HOPE Cape Town tomorrow and for my sergeant duties at the Rotary meeting tomorrow noon time.  A day is done… nothing extra-ordinary but enough left for tomorrow and the rest of the week.

Filed under: General, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

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