In complementing the efforts of government and other organizations in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDs in the country, Standard Chartered Bank has educated the National Institute for Vocational Studies (NIVS) on HIV/AIDS.
Head of Corporate Affairs, Kumba Ngongor said that the education programme is part of the bank’s corporate social responsibilities.
She informed the students that a person with the virus could live very long, provided he/she takes the treatment everyday.
She admonished the students to share the knowledge gained with others who are not fortunate to be part of this training.
Operations and Human Resource Manager, Mariama Kamara said that “It is no secret that HIV & AIDs poses a great challenge in the world and continues to undermine global development”.
She pointed out that ‘the recent UNAIDS 2006 Report on the Global Aids epidemic reveals that an estimated 40 million people in the world are living with the virus”, adding that 28 million are living in sub-Saharan Africa.
In Sierra Leone, according to a national survey carried out in 2005, it was reported that about 35,000 – 40,000 persons, are living with the virus, approximately 1.53% of the population, she stressed.
She noted that the Bank has made a pledge to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2006, to educate 1 million people on HIV & AIDS by the year 2010.
Through our active community Partnership programme ‘Living with HIV’ initiative, she maintained that “we aim to continue with our education on ‘Living with HIV’ efforts, thereby creating the awareness that one could survive the disease, if one’s status is detected at an early stage”. Standard Chartered Bank is the Right Partner – leading by example in Sierra Leone and our presence here today signifies a Right Partnership with this School, she said. Head of Human Resources, Morie Fofanah demonstrated to the students how one could prevent him/herself by abstaining, be faithful and condom use.
He said that if one cannot abstain from getting unprotected sex, that person must use condom to avoid getting the virus.
He then educated them on the effects of stigmatization and discrimination of people living with the virus, urging them to love and care for those living with the virus in their homes, communities and within their peer groups.
Euphemia Johnny also briefed the students how the virus damaged the white blood cells in our body whilst Alimamy Monrovia gave a demonstrations on how it is important for people to know their HIV/AIDs status. Principal of the Institute, Abu Turay commended the bank for their initiative to educate the school on the issues of HIV/AIDs. He urged the students to take advantage of the programme and pass on the information to at least one hundred people in their communities. Kadiatu Sesay, a student, underscored the importance of the messages given to them, adding that she was in doubt as to whether the virus is real, but now with the messages given to her she is now certain that HIV/AIDS is real.
By Abibatu Kamara