HIV/AIDS: awareness is key to prevent, curb spread among adolescents- Total Upstream, others
Because of the high number of adolescents living with HIV and AIDS, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, as well as other partners, have declared awareness as important to preventing and curbing the high spread of the disease among adolescents and young people.
This was the key message at the HIV/AIDS awareness campaign for secondary schools in Lagos state held to mark the World AIDS Day, at Ajigbeda Girls Senior Secondary School in Surulere Lagos.
The campaign is coming at the heel of a recent release by UNICEF-Nigeria, that more than 47 children and adolescents died every day from AIDS-related causes in 2018.
Worried about this high death from AIDS-related causes among young people in Nigeria, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCCA), NNPC-NAPIMS, PETROBRAS, SAPETRO, CNOOC, in partnership with Lagos state government, held an intensive awareness campaign at some secondary schools in Lagos state.
Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary (PS), Lagos State Ministry of Health, explained that awareness is key to curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people.
The PS who was represented by The Lagos State HIV/AIDS Control Program Coordinator, Dr Yeside Shogbamimu, told the young people, “we want you to know that awareness is key to prevention. We want everyone to abstain from unprotected sex, to know their status, to live a better life…”, she said.
In his address, The Managing Director, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, Mr Mike Sangster, said there is a link between the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and the level of ignorance among the public. The MD who was represented by The General Manager CSR, Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, Ajukwura Wokomah, explained that ignorance is a big challenge in the fight against HIV/AIDS, “this is why we have decided to carry this campaign to secondary schools. Because we know that children and adolescents are more exposed to the disease. We want them to be aware, so they can make informed decision to protect themselves. we know that prevention is better than cure, and in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the greatest is prevention. So they need to be aware of the disease so they can make a better decision in terms of protection”, he said.
The awareness campaign, which was organised by Total Upstream Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCCA), NNPC-NAPIMS, PETROBRAS, SAPETRO, CNOOC, in partnership with Lagos state government, has many adolescents from about 5 Secondary schools in attendance.
The schools were: Ajigbeda Girls Senior Secondary school, Gbaja Girls Senior Secondary Schools, Ideal Girls Senior Secondary school, Ansir Ur Deen Senior Secondary schools, and Government Senior College Eric Moore.
In her speech, The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), Dr Mrs Masurat Adeleke, commended Total Upstream and others, for the timely initiative.
The LSACA boss who was represented by The Advocacy Head, LSACA, Dr Sule Omolala, said Lagos state is interested in a public-private partnership. “With public-private partnerships, we can achieve a lot in the fight against HIV/AIDS because the government cannot do this alone.
“Lagos is doing a lot to help the youth access information and services on HIV/AIDS, and one of these is the establishment of the youth-friendly health centres. Lagos has 35 youth-friendly health centres where youths can walk in and access HIV services. There is also a toll-free line on HIV which is 6222, which any youth can call for information or service on HIV/AIDS”, she said.
Gbenga Alabi, executive secretary, Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCCA) explained that schools play a major role in shaping the attitudes, opinions, and behaviour of young people who are important group and potential resource for the prevention of HIV and achieving the 90-90-90 target.
“Every year, December 1, presents us with an opportunity to reflect on how far we have gone in addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS. The theme for the 2019 campaign is ‘communities makes the difference’, which emphasizes the role individuals, Age groups, peers, Government, and the corporate world could play towards ending AIDS by 2030.”
He added that “it is with great privilege and honour that NIBUCCA is identifying with the strategic and laudable school-based awareness project addressing reproductive health in the context of HIV/AIDs.
“This is the fourth edition of the senior secondary school Awareness project and we have been able to reach out to various schools in three (3) districts out of the 6 districts in Lagos state, as we still look forward to spreading this awareness program and empower young students with the necessary knowledge and life skill set they require to keep on forging on in life,” he said.
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