The National HIV/AIDS Secretariat yesterday held a Joint Programme Consultative Workshop at the Presidential Lounge, National Stadium in Freetown, to inform participants: comprising institutions working towards enabling a holistic approach to tackle the HIV pandemic, on how to terminate the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The seminar attracted manifold of institutions, which were subdivided into designated groups and respective colour coding to deliberate and subsequently make recommendations on challenges and issues inherent in the 5 year National Strategic Plan to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.
In a brief opening remarks, the Director of National AIDS Secretariat Dr. Brima Kargbo said that “the workshop is conducted to enable participants disagree to agree on issues raised in the report of the National Strategic Plan, and further proffer solutions through recommendations to target the spread of HIV AIDS”
He also noted that the participation of the youth population in the national response to the spread of HIV AIDS is very impractical, more especially when the prevalence of the disease among the youth is at high percentage.
The Director expressed satisfaction on the level of treatment meted out to people living with HIV in terms of provision of most needed materials and service for the improvement of those who have contracted the disease.
The Country Representative of UNAIDS Madam Munnesh Tennegashaw said that human right abuses and other issues relating to sexual and gender based violence, and other cases of marginalization against people living with HIV is unfortunate, considering the fact that most of them are ill treated in communities they found themselves.
It was also said that an act has been tabled in the office of the Attorney General to restore the rights and privileges that are deemed necessary to determine the status of people living with HIV.
In a summary presentation, the Consultant of the programme Mr. Stephen Luwanga said that people who are living with the disease are not yet involved meaningfully in the prevention and control of the disease.
He also said that there is the existence of an inadequate knowledge on the national plan to control the epidemic, adding that HIV work policy is not fully implemented.
The review process also divided participants into six groups, each group working on findings for a specific National Strategic Plan priority area, with each group moderated by a member of validation workshop, who at the end report their findings and recommendations results in plenary and a consensus reached on the validity of the overall Joint Programme Review Findings.
By Poindexter Sama