Feature story

US First Lady Michelle Obama visits UNDP projects in Moscow

08 July 2009

20090708_MObama_200 Michelle Obama visited the St. Dimitry Sisterhood Medical Nurses College in Moscow.
Credit: UNDP/Andrei Radkevich

US First Lady Michelle Obama visited St. Dimitry Sisterhood Medical Nurses College in Moscow, a nursing school that cares for people living with HIV on 7 July. While there, she stressed the need for more information and education to reduce stigma and raise awareness about how to care for people living with HIV. Ms. Obama, who worked previously as an executive for University of Chicago Hospitals, also shared her experience in the health care field and noted the importance of the work.

Created in 1992, the college trains nurses to care for people living with HIV as part of a larger UNDP project funded by USAID. St. Dimitry Sisterhood and Medical Nurses College aims to contribute to the decrease in HIV and AIDS incidence in the Russian Federation and mitigate the impact of the epidemic on the population by involving the Russian Orthodox Church in the prevention of the spread of the epidemic, reduction of stigma and discrimination, and provision of care and support to people living with HIV and affected by AIDS.

Sister Olga, project coordinator, emphasized that many more people, including youth and children, need this kind of support. “Our sisters are helping families with HIV-positive members as well as HIV-positive children living in orphanages,” she said.

UNDP works to prevent the spread of HIV and reduce the impact of AIDS. As a trusted development partner, and cosponsor of UNAIDS, it helps countries put HIV at the centre of national development and poverty reduction strategies; build national capacity to mobilize all levels of government and civil society for a coordinated and effective response to the epidemic; and protect the rights of people living with HIV, women, and vulnerable populations. Because HIV is a worldwide issue, UNDP supports these national efforts by offering knowledge, resources and best practices from around the world.

For more information, visit hivrussia.ru (in Russian) and the UNDP Russia Web site.