Thursday, December 17, 2009

The World AIDS Day, Yes I am

Did you know that this year's WAD was the 21st anniversary since it's first observance on the 1st of December 1988 following a conference of health ministers from around the world? The World AIDS Day commemoration is about raising money for the fight, increasing awareness, fighting prejudices and improving education.
This year, 'Universal access and Human rights' was the theme for WAD and the slogans like
I AM GETTING TREATMENT were used to underscore the importance of awareness of human rights.

But these affirmations do sound bleak when compared with the latest reports from UNAIDS:
There are now 33.4m people living with HIV around
the world.
In 2008, 2.8m people became infected with the Virus and 2m died from it. For every 2 peple who start treatment, five more are infected! That is why we are not giving up if there is to be any hope for the people living with HIV and its future victims who can be YOU or I.

In Nigeria, How far have we gone? Not as far as we could be. Key Issues in overcoming the HIV/AIDS challenge in Nigeria quoted from Sola Ogundipe's writeup in Vanguard include:
  • More affirmative action from the Government and all other stakeholders
  • Essential support in educating more Nigerians
  • Ensuring greater protection for pregnant women and children from HIV transmission
  • Allocating greater financial resources for Behavioural Change Communication
  • Improved access to HIV treatment
  • And this writers humble view: making the C in ABC prevention initiatives visible again.
The Minister of Health, Professor Osotimenhin in an interview noted that Nigeria needs to critically look at the issue of rights and laws so as to ensure that access to HIV treatment is made as realistic as possible. He said that there are challenges to the National HIV/AIDS response because the country is too dependent on donor funding to run the initiative [I agree with him].
We need to rouse the conscience of our Corporate bodies and private companies into doing more than sponsor dances, football and reality shows if we want Universal access to be treatment to be possible.
Wouldnt it be great if everyday was World AIDS Day?

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