…To Include Churches, Mosques, Others
By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
In commemoration of this year’s World AIDS day, the Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA), has commenced free HIV screening and testing, which is targeted at 15, 000 people, to include churches, mosques and selected hotspots across the state.
Wife of the Oyo State governor and Chairperson, OYSACA, Mrs Florence Ajimobi made the disclosure at a press conference to herald the week-long activities lined up to commemorate the day, which she said, was meant to commemorate the World AIDS day, to “show love and give hope to people living with HIV, while addressing issues surrounding stigmatization and discrimination.”
Mrs. Ajimobi, represented by the Project Manager, Dr. Kayode Ogunkunle at the conference, hinted that the commemoration was also “an occasion for sensitizing the people on the importance of HIV counseling and testing for early detection and treatment, access to healthcare, adherence to drugs and other important issues, with the projection of bringing an end to HIV as a public health threat in the world.”
Mrs. Ajimobi further disclosed that this year’s commemoration with the theme: “Know your status,” focuses on ways to adopt in preventing the menace by testing people and immediately linking them to treatment centers and ensure they commence immediate treatment.
She said: “We are targeting at least 15,000 people for testing and all the people who test positive will be linked to treatment centres across Oyo State so that they can commence treatment immediately. This time, our approach is ‘test and treat’.
“The major target of the testing is youth who are the future of the country. If not tamed among the youths early, the virus can wipe off the youth and the future of any country.
“Our challenge still remains funding. But we commend the Oyo state government for the massive support to the agency, especially in the last two years. Today, Oyo state ranks second after Lagos in terms of commitment and prompt release of funds to tackle the surge of HIV.
“The current prevalence rate in the state stands at 1.9 percent but with the ongoing National AIDS Indicator Survey (NAIS) will help the state plan and earmark enough fund to tackle the scourge.”
She, however, stressed that free HIV testing centres would be created at all the event venues, while an additional team would visit hotspots in the areas to carry out the test on people.
The details of the seven-day activities as explained by the Mrs. Ajimobi include, Jumat Service at Central Mosque, Oja Oba, Church thanksgiving service at Bishop Oyebode Memorial Anglican Church, BOMAC, Agugu, Ibadan, Youth festival at Iseyin, visit by teams of OYSACA and Ministry of Women Affairs to five different orphanage homes in the state where educational and toiletries will be donated.
Other activities include, the grand-finale of Secondary school youths debates and presentation of prizes and awards to outstanding students and schools, Youth festival in Oyo town and Grand-finale rally slated for Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, Ibadan.
Popular musicians which include fuji artiste Abass Akande, aka ‘Obesere’ is billed to perform at the grand-finale on December 1.