Friday, December 01, 2006

Using Technology to Reach Out People on HIV/AIDS

Today is World AIDS Day and according to the UN "World AIDS Day is a day when people from around the world come together within a single effort. The global theme for the World AIDS Day 2006 is accountability - and the slogan is "Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise."" If the promise is to stop aids, then we got to use every means and methods to do that. Today, I remembered to wear my RED RIBBON and the whole day I have been thinking of what has/can be done on the use of educational technologies in general to reach out the masses. I have also checked some cartoons posted on the UN website. Even though I could not interpret the meaning of all of them, the ones I did passed on the message.
I write my reflections. As I write, I do it with a lot of sadness and helplessness. Am sad because I still think the whole of mankind has not done its fair share in eradicating and fighting HIV and AIDS. Helpless because despite what I do now, I might not reach the most deserving soul. I did to do it, nonetheless because it might be my fare share in the war against the AIDS pandemic because you are reading and might be inspired to do your fair share.
I have seen and/or reviewed a number of eLearning courseware on HIV and AIDS (most of them funded by the North or is it the West?). However, I have not seen or heard of an evaluation of the effectiveness of such courses in reaching the most deserving people in developing countries who are worst hit. It seems to me that the donors are ready to pump in money even before they do a thorough analysis of the contexts involved. Studies have shown that there is a link between poverty and the HIV infections. It is therefore very unrealistic for anyone to purport to be using eLearning to reach out to people who live on less than a dollar a day. To such people, technology would not be a priority. To them, we need a different mode of delivery and dissemination of information - and a totally new perspective of looking at the AIDS pandemic. I am not against the use of eLearning in HIV and AIDS education, am just questioning its effectiveness in reaching out to the poorest of the poor especially in Africa. Cellphones have been used (successfully?) in South Africa by medical and social workers to monitor patients on anti-retroviral therapy.
If you care, like I do, use more than one means to get your message on HIV and AIDS accross.

1 comment:

Jane said...

The 1st person i know who die from HIV and AIDS related illness was in 1988. Ofcourse it was a top secret then. In those days if you supported your family went to church then there was no way you could have HIV. It was for the promiscuos ones. In the early and mid 90's i saw many HIV/AIDS related deaths in my village. What became apparent is that almost all could be traced back to the 1st case. From then on i have grown to see the AIDS pademic.
Today many people are living positive.
I was lucky because from then on our parents became alert.I was about 10yrs then. But the only source of information we had was the newspapers and our school books.
Today almost every home in my village has a cell phone but no one has a computer. I am of the opinion whatever means it takes to educate people lets use it.