The Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWODEN) in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), on Monday commenced a five-day capacity training for key and vulnerable populations, to improve their access to HIV services and efficiency.
Mr Aliyu Christopher, the Programme Officer of SWODEN, told newsmen at the training venue in Lokoja, that the workshop was aimed at developing the capacity of key and vulnerable men, women, and young persons on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care.
According to him, it involves integrated approach by all stakeholders and Governments’ MDAs, CSOs to deliver high impact on HIV/AIDS projects.
”We are working towards achieving United Nation (UN) vision on HIV/AIDS, called ‘Vision 2030’ also known as ‘Vision 95-95-95’.
”The vision 95-95-95 simply means that 95 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria will know their status, and 95 per cent who know their status are enrolled for treatment, and lastly 95 per cent of those enrolled for treatment achieved viral suppression.
”The UN-AIDS and all the global community are working towards meeting this target by year 2030.
”We expect that by the time we meet this target, we would have achieved zero HIV/AIDS infections and related deaths”, Christopher said.
He stressed that the training was focusing on building the capacity of network of people living with HIV/AIDS for improved access to HIV/AIDS services.
He emphasised that the participants were drawn from the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), the umbrella body of all network organisations of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Others were Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria (APYN), Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN), and Key Populations (KPs) such as male and female sex workers and those who inject drugs.
Christopher noted that the subpopulations were targeted because their vulnerability to HIV/AIDS was very high.
He added that they were targeting to build their capacity especially in the areas of human rights and improved access to HIV/AIDS services in Nigeria.
He added: ”When they do not know their right, they are likely to face a lot of decrimination and stigmatisation in their work place and society.
”Stigmatisation is against the federal government policy on anti HIV/AIDS laws”.
He stressed that effective collaboration with all stakeholders and the global funders would result in effective HIV/AIDS service delivery as Nigeria looked forward to meeting the target of UN Vision 95-95-95 in year 2030.
One of the training Co-Facilitators, Mrs Grace Ayebe, told NAN that the participants were expected to cascade the training by sharing the knowledge gained to other members of their respective associations, individual homes and communities.
She urged the communities not to stigmatise against people living with HIV/AIDS in the society, but to give them adequate support and care.
Other stakeholders, who spoke at the event were: Pharm. Eric Akoji, the AIDS/STI Coordinator, Kogi State Ministry of Health; Mr Wada Ogula, the Representative of Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN); among others.
Akoji urged the participants to take full advantage of the training to improve their lives and add value to themselves, while assuring them the total support of the State Government.
One of the participants, Rose Abdullahi, commended the organisers for putting the training together to improve their access to effective HIV services.