By Chioma Obinna
To ensure 100 percent awareness on HIV&AIDS in the communities, the Centre For the Right To Health (CRH), in conjunction with the Society for Family Health (SFH) supported by the United Nations AIDS Control Agency (USAID), are imploring community- based approaches to check the spread.
Programme Manager, CRH, Mrs. Christy Ekareteâ€“Udofia said communityâ€“ based approach, particularly, use of athletic games approach in the communities were geared towards reaching more youths in the field.
She spoke shortly after its novelty games, tagged â€œKick HIV out of Shomolu Communityâ€, with aÂ novelty football and field games between the police andÂ the youths, noted that the one year community- based project had at least enabled 85 per cent of school youths in ShomoluÂ be informed of HIV prevention messages.
According to her, great progress has been made and awareness of HIV prevention messages has plunged from what it used to be to about 99 per cent in the area.
â€œThe essence of theÂ Comphrehensive Intergrated Approach to HIV Prevention and Care in Nigeria (CIHPAC) being is to sensitise the youths and uniformed service men as well as female sex workersÂ more on the need to protect themselves against the pandemic.â€
She explained that the games were also to foster good relationship between Shomolu youths and uniformed service men, particularly the police officers in the community for them to work together in the fight against the pandemic.
â€œAt the expiry of this project by June, we intend to hand it over to the community. To ensure ownership of the project, we will have to ensure that the youths have cordial relationship with the police in the community. The football approach was also to reach more youths in the field and to create awareness of the project in Shomolu communityâ€
She added that following the third monitoring and evaluation exercise carried out on uniformed servicemen in the community, youths, female sex workers and taxi drivers, it was discovered that the awareness level has gone up tremendously.â€
â€œThe sex workers are now urgingÂ CRH to re-brand their rooms with our sticker â€˜No condom, No sexâ€™, which we have concluded plans to carry out by next monthâ€
Police Peer Educator on HIV&AIDS, Corporal Ifeanyi Arohowa, from Onipanu Police Station, Motor Traffic Department, said their interest in HIV programme is to ensure that its spread is checked within the Police.
Claiming that there has been great awareness on HIV within the police force, Arohowa said Thursdays are set aside to educateÂ police officers on HIV prevention startegies.
Speaking, the DPO Onipanu Police Station, Mr. Kayopde Ojakpinwa, represented by the Division Traffic Officer (DTO), Mr. Lasis Ogunlade, advocated for total abstinence among the police, positing that any sexually active person who cannot avoid sex should do it with condom to avoid spreading or contracting HIV and AIDS.
The high -point of the games was a novelty match between the police officers and the youths. The police won the football match with two goals. While there female counterparts that took part in the athelectics, participated in 100 meters race.