Senior government ministers have welcomed a proposal by the Bible Society of Gabon to launch the Good Samaritan program in order to help tackle the country’s escalating HIV/AIDS problem. The Society put forward the proposal last month following a call by Gabon’s vice president, Didjob Divungi Di Ndinge, for NGOs, civic groups and government agencies to “intensify the national response” to the crisis. Recent figures published by Gabon’s Ministry of Public Health and Population indicate that there are eight new cases of HIV infection per day. It is estimated that in the main cities of Libreville and Port Gentil, where two-thirds of the country’s 1.2 million people live, the infection rate is between seven and nine percent. “With the HIV/AIDS infection rate continuing to rise, something needs to be done to help people avoid contracting the virus, and this means encouraging them to change their behaviour,” explains Bible Society general secretary Georges Thierry Mabiala. Gabon will be the fifteenth country in Africa to launch the Good Samaritan program. The other countries already participating are Uganda, Cameroon, Togo, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Namibia, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Swaziland, the Sahel Project (Mali, Senegal and Guinea Conakry), Sierra Leone and Tanzania. (United Bible Societies)