NERCHA Reveals New Communication Tools for the HIV Response in Swaziland
In the past communication has taken a back seat in the HIV response in Swaziland. In a country where HIV prevalence is about 26%, there is a dire need to communicate important information about HIV prevention, testing and care as well as general information about the response.
On 29 August 2013 at the Mountain Inn in Mbabane, Swaziland, the National Emergency Response Council on HIV and AIDS (NERCHA) launched a few of their new communication tools. Members of the community associations and the media gathered to hear about these new resources for the HIV response in Swaziland.
The launch revealed that NERCHA is acquiring the popular radio programme Noma Kunje Lisekhona Litsemba, the new and improved NERCHA website, and the NERCHA Facebook page. These tools highlighted NERCHA’s commitment to making communication a priority.
Noma Kunje Lisekhona Litsemba is a local radio program in Swaziland aired directly after the news during prime time on Tuesdays from 7:15 – 7:45pm and on Saturdays from 1:30 – 2:30pm. It covers issues around HIV and AIDS and other health concerns. NERCHA will take over this program from UNICEF on 1 October 2013, the host and producers will remain with the program to keep it successful as a source to highlight useful information in the HIV response.
Finally, the NERCHA website created with support from the Knowledge for Health Project and PEPFAR, brings together information specific to the HIV response. It provides key documents and strategies for Swaziland as well as news and events relevant to key partners. Along with a few direct resources, the website directs to the large collection of resources and information on the National Information Centre website and to the Young Heroes program website. Moving forward NERCHA hopes to use the website to connect partners with existing and new resources on the HIV response and as an umbrella to get people in the response connected to one another.Along with taking over the radio programme, NERCHA launched their Facebook page as another mechanism for sharing information and resources. The Facebook page will also be used as a means to create a dialog around HIV and AIDS issues in the community.
There was a great buzz and excitement around the launch of these tools. It showed the real commitment to communication in the HIV response in Swaziland.