The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), has inaugurated its National HIV/AIDS Media Advocacy Team.
Partnering with Jhpiego, an affiliate of John Hopkins University, the National HIV-prEP Media Advocacy/SBCC Skills Building Workshop was held at the Continental Hotel, Lagos with media practitioners across Nigeria in attendance.
While speaking at the event, Head, Relations and Protocol at NACA, Toyin Aderibigbe who represented the NACA Chairman said the major objective of the workshop was to build capacity of media practitioners in HIV advocacy and media reportage.
She further stated that the effort was in line with the organisations’ National HIV strategic plan of ensuring an AIDS-free Nigeria with Zero discrimination and stigma with a broader goal of fast-tracking national response towards ending AIDS in Nigeria by 2030.
At the training event, media practitioners had interractive sessions with various resource persons and were exposed to various innovations on Social and Behavioural Change Communications (SBCC), benefits and principles of HIV Self Testing as well as the presentation of the Pre Exposure Prophlaxis (PrEP).
Research shows that Nigeria alone reported about 130,000 new HIV/AIDS infections in 2018 with low HIV testing, Stigma and Discrimination among the major factors affecting case finding. Covid-19 outbreak has also allegedly worsened HIV spread.
These factors necessitated the innovative strategies needed to curb fresh incidents of HIV/AIDS.
Speaking at the event, Chief of Party, Jhpiego, Emmanuel Atuma said NACA remains a veritable partner in its mission of creating and delivering transformative health care solutions that save lives.
Atuama hailed the Pre Exposure Prophlaxis (PrEP) which he called a breakthrough in the field of medicine and drug production as it is capable of preventing the acquisition of HIV even when exposed to the virus.
“Äs a country, we are approaching a historic landmark in the fight against HIV/AIDS with the efforts led by NACA and collaborations from our donors and implementing partners.
“We recognise that Media is key in driving and shaping the discuss through timely and appropriate information for social mobilization that would bring in people who are at risk to speed with new technologies in tackling HIV/AIDS like the Pre Exposure Prophlaxis (PrEP).
“We have a strong interest in adolescent girls and young women because they are more at risk and pre-disposed and we must be able to reach out to them to mitigate steps to taking risks and preventing new infections.
“We must employ successful human angle stories to ensure success in our endeavors and we will also be looking forward to the various perspetives to shappen the national SBCC strategy, going forward,” he stated.
Other activities at the event included the election of the inaugural executives of the Media Advocacy Team.
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