Musina,Limpopo Province, 5 December – Limpopo is the South African province with the highest level of poverty, with 78.9% of the population living below the national poverty line. Moreover, at 18.5% (2007) Limpopo has a fairly high rate of HIV compared to other South African provinces. Although there was slight a fall in cases between 2005 and 2007, cases rose from 14.5% to 21.5% between 2001 and 2005.
Since 2002, UNDP/UNV assists the Government of Limpopo in addressing the shortage of health personnel caused by brain-drain and building capacity of local health professionals to improve service delivery and management of health care in the Province.
On the 2014 International Volunteer day, UN Volunteers doctors serving in the province and the UNV Programme Officer participated to an event organized by the University of South Africa in Schuitdrift School, a remote village near Musina, extreme north of the Province. The audience was formed by about 30 school children aged from 9 to 14, some their parents, school teachers, representatives of the Musina Hospital and member of the local community for a total of about 50 persons.
“One of the main problems in this area is early pregnancy and HIV”. According to Helen Mavhandu-Mudzusi, University of South Africa, organizer of the event, “lack of information is severe and some kind of public aware campaign needs to be done to prevent those issues”.
After a brief introduction about the meaning of IVD and UNDP/UNV project in Limpopo, UN Volunteer doctor Khan introduced themes such as basic HIV prevention techniques and avoiding early pregnancy. In order to facilitate the comprehension of such sensitive themes, Ms Mavhandu-Mudzusi provided a consecutive interpretation of Dr. Khan speech. During the speech, Ms Helen provided the audience with examples to better clarify the subjects. Moreover, she also asked the participants to share their own experience and knowledge on the specific themes.
After the event at the school, the participants visited the local village where most of the students live. Although the village looked empty at the time of visit, the visitors verified the extreme poor condition of the village.