Three staff members from Highlands Hope hospitals and clinics were among the thousands of health professionals and HIV activists who gathered in Toronto, Canada, for AIDS 2006.
"It was an excellent conference," says Betty Liduke, matron of the Tanwat Hospital in Njombe and a nursing leader and community educator with Highlands Hope. "I heard about many new things. We talk to the people in our villages about their human rights, but here I learned about children's rights and I think we need to talk about this too."
A key theme to emerge from AIDS 2006 was the necessity to develop community-based approaches to HIV prevention, testing and treatment. Highlands Hope has been pioneering this kind of approach for a number of years in Njombe and Makete Districts.
"We were very proud as Tanzanians to be able to speak about our work," says Jackson Mbogela, director of the PIUMA Care and Treatment Centre. "Our country has been a leader in Africa in making AIDS a priority and developing a country-wide plan through the National AIDS Control Program (NACP). We think our own efforts show that the people of the villages of Tanzania can be world-leaders too."
Highlands Hope presented scientific posters and made a number of important contacts at the conference that will help them improve the quality of the services for the people of Njombe and Makete Districts.
"Sometimes it's a struggle to get things done," says Jackson Mbogela."But it's good to know that in Tanzania, we are moving in the right direction."
August 20, 2006.