GENEVA, Switzerland, December 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – IOM organizes, this week, an HIV awareness and testing campaign for mine workers returning from the South African gold and platinum mines for the holidays. The campaign, which also marks International Migrants’ Day on December 18th, will be done in Ressano Garcia border town, a thriving border post which is the main artery linking Mozambique and South Africa.
Mozambique currently has around 35,000 registered mine workers in South Africa; many of them return to their communities of origin over the Christmas period to celebrate with their families. The border office extends its opening hours to 24 hours a day in order to manage the sharp increase in Mozambicans returning from South Africa.
At least 1.5 million Mozambicans are estimated to be living in South Africa, the regional economic hub. The dynamics of migration increase the HIV vulnerability of migrants mine workers and their families. Regions from where the mine workers originated have the most heavily affected HIV communities in the country, with up to one in three adults living with the virus.
During the week of activities, The Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) volunteers, who have been trained in IOM’s health promotion model, will conduct outreach activities targeting mine workers at TEBA’s office in Ressano Garcia border town to stimulate demand for HIV-related services. Activities include: one-on-one dialogue, radio listening groups, theatre, singing, dancing, and video shows. Volunteers will also refer mine workers to on-site counselling and testing services provided by the Estradas (roads) project called FHI360′s, and collect information about miners’ destinations to provide follow-up services in their community.
The collaboration between IOM, TEBA and FHI360 is funded by USAID/PEPFAR, under the project Community-Based Responses to HIV and AIDS in Mine-Sending Communities in Mozambique (Txivirika). In this role, IOM provides capacity-building and day-to-day technical support to TEBA Development to implement its USAID/PEPFAR Txivirika project.
International Office of Migration (IOM)