New VOA Health Program Tackles HIV/AIDS Issue in Congo

Voice of America’s new French language program “Your Health–Your Future” (Votre Sante–Votre Avenir) goes on the air Saturday, with a dynamic and focused look at the impact HIV/AIDS is having in the Democratic Republic of Congo — and the practical steps needed to ease the devastating health crisis.

The new VOA French to Africa radio show is hosted by Khalil Gueye, a documentary maker and veteran television/radio reporter who has devoted his career to health issues that disproportionally impact women in Africa like HIV/AIDS and gender-based sexual violence.

In Saturday’s first program, Gueye speaks to two national and regional health officials, and begins a dialogue with four of the show’s new reporters in Congo who have participated in a special VOA journalist training program that focuses on critical health issues like AIDS.

VOA’s French to Africa Service, which broadcasts on radio, television and the Internet to sub-Saharan Africa, will use its network of reporters to illustrate the stories of those most affected by HIV/AIDS in Congo, where years of instability and an epidemic of rapes have exacerbated the problem.

The interactive 30-minute VOA radio program will also feature call-in segments, allowing listeners to speak out on a nationwide platform. Medical professionals and experts will share information about how to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS, in a country where recent studies suggest the prevalence of the disease may be increasing and access to health care is limited.

Gueye, who has reported extensively on health issues from Congo, says he decided to devote his career to the human suffering caused by treatable diseases when he interviewed a 12 year old Congolese rape victim who contracted AIDS and became pregnant following the rape. Doctors said she would die in months because she had no money for a simple medical procedure. Gueye says, “Seeing the joy on the face of that girl when she unexpectedly received treatment was a moment that changed my life in journalism.”

For more on this program and other VOA French to Africa programs, visit our website at: www.voanews.com/french/news.

“Your Health-Your Future” is partly funded with a grant from U.S. State Department.

For the latest VOA news in English or to links to any of our language service websites, visit: www.voanews.com.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors.  VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 123 million people.  Programs are produced in 44 languages and are intended exclusively for audiences outside of the United States.

For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail us at askvoa@voanews.com.

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