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Deaf persons trained on HIV prevention

The MidweekSun Admin

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The National Aids Coordinating Agency (NACA) has collaborated with Botswana Association of the Deaf (BOAD) to explore alternative ways to getting HIV/AIDS education to the deaf community in a way that accommodates their needs.

Nearly 400 000 people in Botswana live with HIV with an estimated prevalence rate of 22.8 percent. Prevention efforts that target HIV- related risk behaviours remain the most effective method of lowering incidence rates and the objective cannot be achieved without sufficient information reaching all members of the community. However, over the years not so much HIV prevention interventions have been made towards integrating deaf persons. With a variety of languages and communication styles employed among people who are deaf, it is important to understand which communication style would be most suitable to the targeted population.

BOAD hopes to develop effective HIV prevention intervention programmes to meet the urgent and unique needs of those who are deaf and hard of hearing. As is true of any culture there are features of deaf culture that can both challenge and support the implementation of HIV prevention interventions. Therefore, community based organisations and peer education of the deaf by the deaf are likely to be an advantageous avenue to use in the development and dissemination of HIV prevention interventions that target persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Deaf Federation of South Africa national director, Bruno Druchen who is consulting on this project shared that, amongst other things, the initiative aims to educate the deaf persons about HIV/AIDS as they have been missing on previous messages in the public domain because those campaigns were not designed to accommodate their needs. Druchen said that to date, all empirically validated HIV prevention interventions have relied on communication strategies designed for people who can hear and read spoken language. Therefore, understanding and developing effective prevention methods is crucial for persons who are deaf.

He explained that the main risk factor for HIV infection for deaf people is the lack of access to information. Deaf people, he said, face an information gap at the prevention stage in that one needs proper information in order to know how to avoid infection and deaf persons cannot understand the language used in the mainstream – mass information systems. He indicated that the limited knowledge of how HIV is transmitted may contribute to increased vulnerability to HIV infections among persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Selected deaf participants were pulled from different places across the country to be trained as trainers who will then go to their respective villages to educate other deaf community members on HIV/AIDS issues in conjunction with their district health teams.

Druchen indicated that the aim is to have peer-counselors by the deaf to the deaf, where a deaf person will communicate with another deaf person using the language that they both can understand and offer support to one another. Sign language interpreters were also trained on the code of ethics, the behaviour and professionalism of interpreters as these are the people that assist communication flow between the health service providers and the deaf persons. Druchen emphasised that interpreters should understand that their role is to relay the message and not to talk on behalf of the deaf person(s).

He stated that since confidentiality is a key issue in HIV prevention, some clinics and testing centres may not be equipped to deal with deaf persons and hard of hearing persons as they rarely have health care providers who are fluent in sign language and interpreting services are not easily available when needed. This may further marginalise deaf and hard of hearing persons and their access to education on HIV/AIDS, HIV testing and other health issues may be impeded, he warned.

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VACANCY: President of the UDC

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Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) President, Advocate Sidney Pilane says Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) does not have a President.

He revealed this week that UDC leader, Advocate Duma Boko was given the leadership of the coalition on a temporary arrangement. Advocate Pilane who was addressing the media this week, following the expulsion of his party from the UDC stated that in the buildup to 2014 general elections it was agreed that Advocate Boko should be presidential candidate for UDC, an arrangement that ended at the time when the UDC lost the 2014 general elections.

“It was decided that Botswana National Front (BNF) should be given the presidency so that Advocate Boko could be our presidential candidate. The late Gomolemo Motswaledi of BMD was to be his running mate. We made this arrangement in preparation to taking over state power.

So, all that has passed, we contested and lost so it is all in the past,” said the BMD leader. He stated that constitutionally, the UDC has no president because the president has to be elected during the UDC elective congress. Advocate Pilane pointed out that UDC according to the Constitution should hold its congress every three (3) years.

He stated that even all the members of UDC National Executive Committee have to be elected at the congress and as it stands, “there is no president or Vice Presidents because they were not voted into those positions.”

Advocate Pilane said instead of building the UDC brand their colleagues at Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana National Front have resorted to petty issues. He told the media that the leadership of the two parties have taught their members to insult BMD leadership and its members on social media and any other forum.

He had no kind words for the BCP, calling the party a divisive party that thrives on insults and divisive tendencies. He said the BCP leadership had encouraged its foot soldiers to use social media to insult him and members of the BMD.

According to Advocate Pilane, these are some of the things that have made the two parties remain in opposition for far too long without even coming close to toppling the ruling party. He described them as dishonest people who will plunge the country into chaos and that is why Batswana do not want to give them power.

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VIDEO: A Gaborone hotel Prophet caught in the act

Yvonne Mooka

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In a matter that closely resembles that of a South African Cabinet Minister, Melusi Gigaba’s masturbating video clip, a visiting Zimbabwean Prophet, Ronald El Melchizedek of Altar of Grace this week denied that he has been sending nudes to church sisters and demanding same from them.

In fact, the ‘man of God’ has earned himself the name, ‘Botswana’s Omotoso’ by girls that allege he has sexually exploited them. Pastor Timothy Omotoso is a Nigerian clergyman accused of sexually exploiting over 30 young girls from his church in South Africa.

“He is an Omotoso and even though they hide it at his church, some of us have received messages from him asking for our nudes. Actually, he has asked for my nudes several times,” says one church sister.

The Midweek Sun has gotten hold of a 34 seconds video clip of the youthful prophet playing with his manhood. Looking like he is in a hotel room, the man stands fully naked in a muted video that, depicts him speaking and teasing the recipient. In a standing position, he starts off by caressing his manhood, giving it a close up and ends up lying on the bed, facing up.

At least three young women say they received the video from the prophet and that he usually asks for nudes from them. One of them actually says he has been pestering her, demanding to have sex with her. “He likes to send me messages of how horny he is for me. But again, he likes asking for nudes from women.

Even married women at his church have fallen victims of his sexual harassment. I left the church because he disgusted me by doing such things yet calling himself a man of God,” she says.

The woman however says that Melchizedek, a Zimbabwean who holds services at Gaborone Hotel when he is in the country, is a man of accurate prophecies. “He moves mightily in the prophetic but he likes harassing church sisters. It is known in his church. He is married but controlled by the spirit of lust,” she says.

The Prophet responds
Melchidezek told The Midweek Sun that he was aware of the video of him doing the rounds through WhatsApp, but was quick to label the whole thing a scam.“Yes we are aware. Those are scammers from Benin who hacked into my wife’s Facebook account and phone and stole our videos and pictures. So they wanted to blackmail us and we refused, that is why they are doing that.

It is just an effort to harm the work of God but God is in control,” he told The Midweek Sun. He would not be drawn into responding to, or even discussing the allegations levelled against him by church sisters, but instead gave this reporter a mobile number of a person he said was his wife.

The said woman confirmed that the video was posted by scammers. “That was done by scammers. We have reported them to Benin police,” she said. She however would not give the name of the police station nor go into further details.

This incident follows on last week’s revelations reported by this publication, where several girls spoke anonymously about pastors, prophets and ‘men of God’who were using them sexually in church. Many were uncomfortable to reveal their names, forcing this paper to also conceal the identies of the accused churches and pastors involved in the dirty acts in the name of God.

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