By Bianca Iboma
Government at various levels have been advised to de-emphasise the urban approach in sensitising the people on HIV/AIDS in order to the reduce cases of the disease in rural communities.
The Regional Manager of Lift Above Poverty Organisation,(LAPO) Mrs Vivian Evabotokhai spoke during an HIV/AIDS sensitisation and screening exercise held at Ayobo, Lagos. Evabotokha said the stiff sensitisation campaign against the disease had been sustained by our determination to fight and stop its spread.
She added that despite the several sensitisation campaign on the disease Nigeria remains second largest in the world affected by HIV epidemic according to the report presented by UNAIDS. “The prevalence of HIV in Nigeria is already falling but most of the effort is in the urban areas and not in the rural areas,” she said adding that the group was in the community to bridge the gap. She observed that awareness was still lacking in the community stressing that some of the residents did not know the necessary things to do against contracting the viral infection. Also, Executive Officer of the group, Sabina Idowu-Osehobo said many people living with HIV in Nigerians are unaware of their status due to poor access to HIV testing services centres. While those dying from the virus is due to inadequate antiretroviral treatment including CD-4counting machines where the HIV/AIDS service is available. Osehobo said society needs to do more by facilitating uptake services, sensitisation campaigns taking to rural areas and make available treatment for communities not situated in the urban centres. “Over the years focus had been on the urban centres a lot need to be done to ensure that the hinderances are removed especially at the local level.
“This effort must continue, urging government and other humanitarian organisations not to be tired of creating regular sensitisation programmes like to increase awareness.Through the programme they would be able to understand how the virus is spread and what they need to do to be safe”, he said
In the same vein, facilitator at the event MS.Kemi Oluyide who presented a paper on “hindrances to rights of people living with HIV to health and how the hinderances can be erased at the local level “ said every new infection starts with someone who is already infected.New infections occur because infected persons do not take the necessary precaution or because of poorly organised protective services. Oluyide said a strategic goal for HIV prevention is to understand how and why patients hide their diagnosis and determine a solution.The scourge has been feared due to misinformation about its transmission routes
She explained that education is the major tool that would help erase the way people view those living with it.People must share information about their about health status to their family members regarding the social problems and stigma associated with it.
‘Patient need to educated with sufficient information about their responsibility to prevent the spread of HIV and get involved with precautions, treatment and precautions. Family members can support them in different ways if they know how to educate them on the disease” ,she noted.
Several residents, including women and children, participated in the event.