By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 6/10/2005 | 12:47 am
The Moroccan Youth AIDS control association, known by its French acronym AMJCS, will launch on Monday a supportive telephone counselling called Allo ... Kifach!!! SIDA kayna..?! (Hello....How!!! AIDS exists?!). This telephone service aims at informing Moroccans about AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
AMJCS is one of the active associations in the field of AIDS prevention. It was created in 1993 by a group of young Moroccans to fight against the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in Morocco.
Abdessamad Oussayh, AMJCS president, told Morocco Times that the new telephone service 'Allo Kifach', designed to be more close to Moroccans, aims at providing confidential counselling and information about three major questions contracting AIDS, its symptoms, testing and treatment.
The AMJCS president stressed that the most important thing for the association team is listening.
“Active listening implies a capacity for restating the caller's point of view so that he/she discovers the causes of the problem and possible solutions. This is different from a dogmatic, authoritarian approach of imposing ready-made solutions on the target,” said Oussayh.
In the meantime, AMJCS is currently shooting a TV film on AIDS called Casablanca, which stars Jawad El Khoudi and Abdelali Fatih, and directed by Mourad El Khoudi. The film discusses several taboos in Moroccan society including sexuality and AIDS.
“AIDS is still a taboo subject in Morocco, especially its relationship with sexuality. For us, condoms are the only efficient solution for vulnerable groups to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. However, for most Moroccans the distribution of condoms encourages sexual misconduct,” said Oussayh.
Oussayh added that the association relies mainly on edutainment (Entertainment-Education), especially popular drama, which is very efficient in AIDS campaigns.
“Before deciding to shoot this TV film, we have already produced many plays to disseminate our messages. Theatre tells a story. It presents and dramatizes people's way of life. It adds entertainment value to an inspiring message and so keeps the attention of the audience,” he said
He emphasised that theatre is a medium which allows people to interact in matters concerning the community. “Theatre encourages the audience to reflect on behaviour while identifying with specific characters, who find themselves in a well known and difficult situation,” he added.
Beside edutainment, the association focuses on interpersonal communication including individual counselling, telephone, peer education, group counselling, and opinion leaders. They also use small media (flip charts, brochures, slides, posters, video, audio tapes); mass media (radio, television, newspaper); and edutainment (theatre, music, folk media).
Morocco is one of the North African countries that has known AIDS since the middle of the 80s. The first case of AIDS was discovered in 1986 in a man infected by a blood transfusion during surgery in France.
Statistics up to 2005 reveal that the total number of cases in Morocco reached 1,587 of which 62% were men, and 38% women. According to AMJCS, 16,000 to 25,000 people live with AIDS in Morocco.
For information about AIDS, call AMJCS at + (212) 22 263884 The counselling service is open 7 days a week from 9 am to 6 pm GMT time.