Long treks, hard living and poor pay - the life of a migrant farm worker is not easy, and can even be downright risky. But a new programme aims to reduce that risk, at least when it comes to HIV.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have launched Ripfumelo ("believe" in xiTsonga), a project aimed at expanding access to HIV-related services among an estimated 20 000 migrant workers in northern Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
The IOM Migration Health Officer, Julia Hill-Mlati, says the project's implementing partners have signed up to provide services such as mobile clinics, financial literacy classes and peer education programmes on about 120 farms during the next three years. Hill-Mlati says that there are plans to expand Ripfumelo and perhaps link the project's HIV-related services with those in migrants' home communities, at least in South Africa.
Limpopo and Mpumalanga attract agricultural labourers from within the country as well as neighbouring Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Mozambique.
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