Yaounde- Cameroon (PANA) -- People living with HIV/AIDS in Cameroon can now dial a toll free telephone number to access information necessary for their support, according to SUNAIDS, the association that initiated this project.
By dialling this confidential, anonymous and free number (821-50- 50), infected persons can get addresses of structures and associations nearest them to seek help.
SIDA-Info, a French association, which donated 150 million francs CFA, and the Cameroon National AIDS Committee (CNLS) that contributed 70 million francs CFA are jointly financing the 220 million francs CFA project.
The project has already acquired 5,000 lines offered by the national telecommunications company, CAMTEL, and its officials are negotiating expansion with private operators.
According to Public Health Minister, Urbain Olanguena Awono, the project will cost around 23 billion francs CFA by 2012.
He stressed the importance of information and counselling on HIV/AIDS in Cameroon where the HIV prevalence rate is 5.
5 percent, but with neighbouring countries where that rate is nearly 20 percent.
According to SUNAIDS chairperson, Lucie Zambou, the initiative has already proven worthwhile in France, Morocco and Burkina Faso.
SUNAIDS comprises mainly people living with HIV, who felt they were excluded from the realities of the disease and who wish for a medium to be heard even from their bedrooms, Zambou explained.