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PHILIPPINES: DOH-CAR launches LHIVE Free campaign to stop HIV/AIDS



BAGUIO CITY, December 27, 2018 – Philippines – The Department of Health – Cordillera launched a new campaign to put a stop to the increasing number of individuals affected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

DOH-Cordillera OIC Regional Director Dr. Amelita Pangilinan and Mary Joy Morin of the DOH Central Office National AIDS & STI Prevention and Control Program led the launching of the “LHIVE- Free” campaign during the awarding of the academic and skills competition on HIV/AIDS Awareness and the search for the Reyna di Cordillera as HIV and AIDS Advocacy Ambassadors in Baguio City recently.

Morin said the LHIVE- Free campaign aims to encourage the key population at risk for HIV such as males having sex with males to get tested, seek treatment if they have HIV, be educated and empowered about the proper use of condom and help them live a worry-free life.

The LHIVE- Free campaign will also reach out to partners who will serve as enablers and support groups, hence the word FREE means F for family and friends, R is for religious and political leaders, E is for educators and media, and the last E is for employers and the community.

“We are confronted with seriously worsening concern on HIV,” Morin said citing the 32 new HIV cases per day.

“We are the highest in the rate of increase of HIV in the Asia Pacific Region. Persons at risk for HIV are afraid or shy away from getting and HIV test. There is extremely low level of knowledge on HIV, especially the modes of transmission and ways of prevention, even among those who already in risky sexual behaviors. The use of condoms among those who engage in anal sex is also very low. There are persons who are already HIV positive and still decide to delay treatment,” she said.

In Baguio City, 33 new cases of HIV and AIDS were recorded in Baguio City from January to August this year, the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) has reported. This brings to 307 the total number of HIV/AIDS cases in the city since monitoring started in 1984.

Cordillera statistics   show that there are a total of 457 HIV/AIDS cases from 1984 to August 2018. Benguet has 54 cases; Abra, 50; Kalinga, 13; Ifugao, 12; Apayao, 11; and Mountain Province, 10. A total of 61 new cases were recorded from January-July in the region.

“Let us continue to work together so we can witness a generation where people with HIV can live free of fear, stigma and discrimination and the rest of the population,” Morin said.


By: Redjie Melvic M. Cawis

Philippine Information Agency


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The Incredible Story of David Avido of Kenya, 24 Year old designing for the Grass Roots to the Stars



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer



#Africa, February 2, 2023 – One Kenyan designer began a sewing business out of the slums where he was born; now he dresses some of the Caribbean and Africa’s most famous faces.

Born the oldest son of a single mother and from Kibera Nairobi, David Avido Ochieng did not have an easy start. In Kibera, the largest urban slum in East Africa opportunities for international success are hard to come by and yet Avido can now say he has dressed the likes of former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Beyoncé, Chronixx, Romain Virgo, Tarrus Riley, Chris Martin, Ty Dolla Sign, Koffee and many more.

As explained on his website, David dropped out of school to work and support his family quite young. In just first form he was working on a construction site but he knew he wanted more from life. After quitting his job he danced and saved what he could and tried his best to complete his education.

He told Vogue magazine: “When I started dancing I used to save money in order to go back to high school, with the little that I could get from dancing and my mom’s money from doing work as a house help, we were able to raise 15,000 shillings and with that, I joined an adult school and skipped forms two, three and four.”

David picked up a sewing machine to make costumes and realized his talent.  By 2015, his brand LookslikeAvido was born. He completed a fashion & design diploma at Buruburu Institute of Fine Arts and began to sew incredible pieces right at home in Kibera.  Even as his brand is globally recognized, Kibera is where his workshop remains; David says, his homeland is his great inspiration.

“There is no barrier if you believe in your talent and take the next step. I want to encourage and create beauty, where people don’t expect.”

Talented and thoughtful Avido is well aware of the stereotypes surrounding him, his home and the black community globally.

“We know about injustice and violence, prejudice, racial and social discrimination – we experience it within Kenya and we experience it globally, as people look at us as the poor, the uneducated, the needy,” he said.

Featured in Vogue, CNN and other international publications, Avido remains connected to his origins in a tangible way and as his success grows his roots just go deeper. Twenty per cent of all sales of his jackets and other clothing items go directly back to Kibera; his website explains ​that all the tailoring, product photoshoots and collaborations ‘is all done here in Kibra.’

There is no fabric waste from his garments, instead, scraps are repurposed into masks and shopping bags for residents, all his tailors are local residents, a portion of profits are used to pay school fees and Avido and his team put in extra time to make school uniforms as well.

On his website, is a photo of him sitting around a sewing machine, his worktable resting on hard-packed earth with presumably a group of family and friends surrounding him, a source of pride. The introspective photograph could have been taken in Nairobi, Trinidad or Barbados, so nostalgic is the picture, the bench and the story of community success that it represents.

In a video posted to his YouTube, David sits at his new work desk, and beside him hangs a rack of clothes in the cramped space that serves as his kitchen as well.

“I’m the firstborn of Kibera,” He explains, “Every kid in Kibera is looking up to me— my main dream is to open up a place where I can inspire people to work.”

David has a dozen employees and is listed in Beyonce’s directory of black businesses; with an uncommon wisdom, the designer knows that his successes so far are not parking spaces but rather stepping stones as he faces his future announcing that the journey, for him, continues.

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Cabinet Shuffle in Ukraine; Allegations of Profiteering off WAR funding



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer



#Ukraine, February 2, 2023 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy has been forced to shuffle his Cabinet amidst corruption allegations that have caused increased scrutiny from the United States on the war-torn country’s spending.

The country’s Defense Minister is under watch and the Acting Minister for Regional Development has been arrested over allegations of war profiteering or making an excessive profit from selling weapons and other goods to forces at war.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine says it is investigating not only overpriced rations for soldiers bought by the Defense Ministry but overpriced generators bought by the Infrastructure Ministry and a suspected $400,000 unlawful kickback to the Acting Minister.

In addition, the country’s Deputy Chief of staff resigned amid allegations he was using a humanitarian vehicle to go on personal visits. Ukraine has had a long history of issues with corruption, often ranking near the bottom of global transparency lists.

The overspending scandal comes just weeks after the US approved a $1.8 billion package of aid for the country and just days before they and other allies decided to send some of the most advanced tanks in the world to help them in their war against Russia.

When word of the scandal emerged, Zelensky immediately took action, by Monday night he had fired a number of high-ranking officers of State while others resigned and banned travel that was not strictly business for government officials.

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US launches partnership to sponsor Caribbean refugees



By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer



#USA, February 2, 2023 – A private sponsorship program launched by the United States will allow Caribbean refugees to be sponsored by Americans via the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).  The Welcome Corps will then ensure that refugees settle into their new communities smoothly.

“This programme invites Americans to be partners and guides to refugees, as they build new lives in the United States and help them realise their full potential,” US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said.

He said the private sponsors will come from groups such as veterans, civic groups, colleges, members of faith and business owners.  By the end of the program’s first year, the aim is to rally a minimum of 10,000 sponsors who will successfully welcome at least 5000 refugees.

The Biden administration had previously announced that a limit of 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua would be implemented.  United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk and Caribbean American Democratic Congresswoman, Yvette D Clarke opposed this decision.

“Unfortunately, the recently announced reforms from President Biden and his administration fail to deliver the change migrant communities deserve and have prayed for,” she said.

The re-evaluated decision now offers legal routes for migrants from the Caribbean and other countries to enter the US.  In addition, new consequences will be implemented for those who choose to use illegal pathways.

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