Subject: AIDS Report Conducted, Nat'l TB Training Program

also: National Tuberculosis Training Programme



A "HIV theme group" is in the process of being set up by UNTAET and United Nations Agencies. The group consists of the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Population Fund, UNDP, the World Bank and representatives of UNTAET and PKF medical service.

This follows the release of an assessment report last week on HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STI). The report was conducted by UNICEF and supported by UNFPA and UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS.

The report reveals that although there is insufficient available information to assess the existence of an HIV epidemic, there is a worrying combination of most of the factors that can contribute to an epidemic developing in the near future. This includes the presence of a wide range of STIs, low levels of HIV/AIDS/STI awareness, little prevention and care, rapidly increasing activity in male and female sex work, the beginnings of intravenous drug use, as well as cultural constraints to talking openly about sexual behaviour.

The newly formed group will look into recommendations of this and expected reports before taking appropriate action. Efforts, aimed mainly at youth groups and health staff, will focus on information campaigns to increase the awareness of the public about sexually transmitted diseases in general.

In addition, training of health staff on a national level in diagnosing and treating specific sexually transmitted diseases is planned.


The National Tuberculosis Programme is currently training 22 health workers from various districts to become tuberculosis supervisors. Once the training has been completed, the trained staff will in turn train local health workers in their home districts.

Two tuberculosis trainers from the World Health Organization (WHO) are running the two-week training, focusing on the supervision of tuberculosis patients.

The National Tuberculosis Programme was operating in nine districts as at the end of June, with nearly 1,500 patients enrolled. By the end of July, all 13 districts will be covered by the programme.

This training is another step towards the establishment of a well functioning national tuberculosis programme.

A three-week bacteriology training course is currently on-going as well. The course will help establish diagnostic capacity in the country, which is currently not available and limits the capability of diagnosing infectious diseases.

The course, sponsored by WHO, AUSaid and the Darwin-based Menzies health school, started two weeks ago and will have a follow-up course next month.

The course is aimed at medical laboratory scientists at the UNTAET-run Central Health Laboratory.

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