Campaign against HIV/AIDS scores stunning results

The results of a campaign by Africa's largest social change communication organisation, the Johannesburg-based Soul City Institute for Health and Development Communication (Soul City), indicate very strongly that the HIV/AIDS pandemic ravaging sub-Saharan Africa can be beaten back if there is sufficient will and committed support for worthy programmes.

This is one of the critical findings of Soul City's globally acclaimed OneLove Campaign, an ongoing regional programme aimed at reducing new HIV infections and related deaths, which the organisation released yesterday.

The OneLove campaign was launched in 2008 to shift social norms in sub-Saharan Africa and reinforce positive sexual behaviour in an endeavour to help reduce Multiple and Concurrent Partnerships (MCP), as well as reduce new HIV infections. MCP is a key driver of the HIV pandemic.

The campaign is run through Soul City’s mass media platforms including television, radio, print and social mobilisation programmes in communities.

"Our evaluation, conducted by the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, so far shows that the campaign has been very successful in terms of reach, reception and impact, with significant gains being shown with regards to knowledge of MCP as well as knowledge and behaviour change related to condom use and HIV testing," Soul City CEO, Lebo Ramafoko said.

The analysis of the achievement and cost-effectiveness of the programme was carried out in eight regional countries namely Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

”This campaign is showing the way in terms of what can be achieved when there is adequate political and societal will, as well as meticulous planning and execution when dealing with a crisis of this nature. Indeed, it is only through a united effort among the continental and global families, including adequate resourcing of worthy projects, that we can successfully curb the HIV pandemic,” Ramafoko added.

In addition to announcing some of the OneLove campaign outcomes, Soul City also launched an alliance of regional health and social development organisations today, to further accelerate the reduction of new HIV infections.

The organisations that form this partnership include Soul City (South Africa), Pakachere (Malawi), Lusweti (Zambia), ZCCP (Swaziland), Dessert Soul (Namibia), Phela (Lesotho), Nweti (Mozambique) and Action (Zimbabwe).

The memorandum of understanding signed among these organisations will ensure that the following key activities are implemented in order to achieve maximum results in the field:

  • To share information with one another from time to time to identify best practices
  • To jointly raise funds in order to produce an information sharing platform
  • To provide expert assistance to one another
  • To make themselves reasonably available to one another to provide advice and guidance
  • To provide public support to one another in relation to joint campaigns and lobbying

Speaking at the launch of the alliance the Minister of Health said, “I am pleased to be here because we are talking about prevention. The healthcare system must rely on prevention of diseases and promotion of health. We have evidence that communication helps with prevention and it is critical that we have more of these programme evaluations. We would like Soul City and its partners to help us with a combination of prevention programmes that empower women”.

© 2023 Soul City Institute