HACEY recount their experience during the 2011 WAD:
All over the world, 1st of December is the day set aside to mark World AIDS Day. This year, December 1 marked the 23rd United Nations World AIDS day, 30 years after HIV/AIDS was first discovered, 10 years after the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Political Declaration on AIDS, and 5 years after the Global Declaration towards Universal Access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
In commemoration of this day, HACEY’s health Initiative organized an advocacy program on the theme ‘Getting to zero – The role we play”. This program was organized to bring together young people of different age groups and backgrounds to contribute towards finding a strategy to helping our society get to zero HIV new infections, zero discrimination, and zero HIV/AIDS related deaths and serve as a Open Forum for UNAIDS CrowdOutAIDS initiative.
The United Nations, the “Getting to Zero” campaign runs until 2015 and builds on last year’s successful World AIDS Day “Light for Rights” initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations.
The program was held at Arts Theater, University of Lagos, Akoka on the 30th of November 2011. In attendance were Dr A. O. Oduwole representing the Commissioner of Health Lagos state, Mr. Onimisi Adaba the operations manager of Cool/Wazobia fm, Mrs. Scholastica M. Lan a pharmarsist for the Nigerian Academy of science and association of women pharmacists, Ms Ashogbon Adenike, a youth advocate and journalist, Ms Adedoyin Oluwaseun the communications and research executive of RISE networks Interactive global link, Mr Olasupo Vera-Cruz the president of anti-aids club, Unilag and Mr Takuro Ojawale from the institute D’Étude de la langue francaise. These distinguished individuals formed the panelist for the discussion segment of the program. Also in attendance was the program manager for Nigerian youth Assembly, Mr Shehu Yinusa, and over 250 youths and representatives from different secondary schools in Lagos state.
The program started off by a welcome by the president of the anti-AIDS club Unilag, and introductions of the panelist done by the MC of the occasion, Mr. Samson Robinson. A brief introduction of HACEY and the objectives of the program were given by Mr. Aaron Adah, one of the Directors in HACEY’s Health Initiative. The chairman of the occasion the Commissioner of health was represented by Dr A. O. Oduwole who spoke on the achievements of the ministry of health in the battle against HIV/AIDS, and also informed the listening audience on the 76 HIV/AIDS centers in Lagos state. He expressed his delight in seeing young people taking an active role in the fight against HIV and encouraged the youths present to work towards getting to zero HIV prevalence in our society.
An educative animated video on HIV donated by TeachAIDS USA was presented to the audience. It informed the viewers on the modes of transmission and prevention of HIV and also on how it works in the body. The program had a discussion segment led by the panelist on the theme of the program. The discussion answered questions on youth and HIV prevalence, leadership and prevention. Questions and contributions were entertained and answered from the audience by the panel.
During the discussion, it was proposed that youths can be active in the fight against HIV by passing the message across especially to young people living in rural communities where most people still do not have comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS. A student from one of the secondary schools present contributed that abstinence should be encouraged as a means of preventing HIV. The president of the anti-AIDS club Unilag advised that parents, religious bodies, and educational institutions should come together to put a stop to HIV.
Throughout the program, the youths in attendance were given the opportunity to ask questions and make contributions to the discussion, and at the end participants concluded that to enhance HIV prevention sex education should be incorporated into education curriculum and that the government should make use of the energy, innovation and creativity of young people and let young people take the lead in initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS. The program also showcased song presentations by Oba Adelani Gbogboade Memorial College and a song from upcoming artist Jessiey Mcjessey. Also in attendance was MTN project fame’s Joba who committed to working further with the organization in the fight against HIV.
HACEY’s Health Initiative is a non-governmental organization founded in 2007 with the aim of using Capacity building, Advocacy, Research and Education to help children, women and young people live healthy and productive life. They have worked in 8 states accross Nigeria. HACEY is a member of the World Health Organisation global health workforce alliance and country representative of Earth Child Institute, U.S.A. Their core programs is in the areas of HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Environmental protection and job creation.