Imbuto Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose patron is Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame, is extending its fight against HIV to Bugarura Island, far into the vast Lake Kivu.
According to statistics, about 1% of the Island population is struggling with HIV/Aids.
The Island in Rutsiro district has a population of 2059 inhabitants and among them, 30 people have HIV, but are receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART).
Imbuto Foundation, which mostly supports and helps the youth, is taking the next campaign against HIV/AIDS to an Island where the youthful population is highly at risk.
Rita Zirimwabagabo, the Vice-Chairperson of Imbuto Foundation, said the orgnisation will sensitise the youth on abstinence, behavioral change and HIV testing.
Bugarura Island comprises of 60% women, and 35% youth. It is reported that teenage pregnancies are a frequent occurrence. There were 48 cases in 2014 alone.
Teenage pregnancies on the Island are forcing the youth to drop out of school in the 9 and 12 Year Basic Education.
The higher rate of unprotected sex is partly explained by limited prevention awareness on the island, explains Jules Niyodusenga, the executive secretary of Boneza sector where the Island is located.
Meanwhile, Henriette Umulisa, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion presided over the launch of the campaign, which will mainly focus on sensitizing the residents of the Island to abstain, test for HIV and avoid behaviors that lead to spread of HIV infection.
Joint cessions of parents and school children are scheduled to take place at Bugarura secondary school, focusing on prevention of early pregnancies and prevention of new HIV infections.
The ministry of health indicates that Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health (ASRH) information and services are still limited in scope and coverage.
The campaign, named True Love Campaign, is part of the National program against HIV/AIDS that was launched last year.
Currently, Imbuto Foundation is implementing four health projects, namely Family Package, Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights, 12+, and Mountain Movers II. These programmes focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT); reproductive and sexual health for adolescents, with a focus on HIV
prevention among youth aged between 15-24; and empowering 10-12 year old girls with health, economic and social assets.
The organization is this year celebrating 15 years of supporting vulnerable people in Rwanda.