Brunei HIV/AIDS awareness programme successful

Monday, November 11, 2013

THE Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council (BDAC) is complimented for its excellent ongoing HIV and AIDS awareness programme, reaching out to young people and key affected population, according to the Head of Department of China’s Centre for Disease Control (CCDC), Zhu Kejing.

Zhu yesterday led a delegation of 14 members of Youth Volunteer Association from China to visit Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council at its headquarters behind Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College, Gadong.

“BDAC is doing excellent and I am very impressed that they are very engaged with local youth, considering that most of its members consists young people.”

“It is the role of an NGO to concentrate more on providing education and awareness. I learn that HIV cases in Brunei is also low, thus the council focuses more on awareness programmes rather than provide counseling for HIV patients. This is really good especially educating and alleviating the stigma among the local community,” he said.

With a public health background, specialising in children and maternal health, Zhu is assigned as one of the teaching assistants at PAP Rashidah Sa’adatul Bolkiah Institute of Health Sciences, Universiti Brunei Darussalam (IHS-UBD) while in Brunei.

The Chinese delegation comprised medical professional and medical students who are now in an exchange programme arranged by the Government of Brunei Darussalam and the Republic of China as part of efforts to strengthen friendship and bilateral cooperation.

Members of the youth volunteer association, whose one-year programme is nearly completed, have been in the country since December 2012.

Thirty-four year-old Yao Rui shared that the programme has given him the opportunity to understand Brunei culture and at the same time allowed him to share Chinese culture with the locals.

The visit to BDAC headquarter also reminded them that “there are a lot of NGOs in China which are also working on HIV and AIDS related issues.

“I think that BDAC are on par with these NGOs in China and even internationally in their efforts to raise awareness on HIV and AIDS,” he said.

Yao Rui who is a staff of CCDC is also here in Brunei as a teaching assistant at IHS-UBD while doing some research with the Health Promotion Centre (HPC).

There are a total of 23 volunteers that took part in the the community outreach programme.

Eleven of the volunteers are assigned at IHS-UBD while the others to secondary schools to teach Mandarin.

The visit yesterday was coordinated by Hjh Salmah Hj Md Noor from IHS-UBD who is also one of the executive committee of BDAC.

The visit included a brief introduction of the council by its President, Iswandy Ahmad, who gladly answered a series of questions regarding HIV and AIDS situation in the country and interacted with the Chinese delegates and the AIDS council in a networking session.

As of December 2012, there are 80 local cases of HIV reported in Brunei Darussalam. BDAC will commemorate this year’s World’s AIDS Day on December 1 with Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to coincide with the ‘Larian Hari Belia’.

The Brunei Times