The federal government said in Abuja on Friday that the national multisectoral HIV / AIDS response plan is its framework for a strong response to end HIV by 2030.
The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Ms. Pauline Tallen, revealed this during the closing ceremony of the training and advocacy workshop on gender-based violence (GBV) and stigma reduction for the Association of women and girls living with HIV in Nigeria (ASWHAN).
The workshop was organized by UN-Women, in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Agency (NACA), the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs, UNAIDS, UNESCO and other partners.
Tallen, represented by Ms Funke Oladipo, head of the women’s development department at the ministry, explained that the federal government plans to reduce
infection rate and improve the quality of life of people living with the virus.
The minister said the ministry is committed to raising awareness that would further educate people about the effects of stigma against people living with HIV.
She urged the media to join the crusade to declare zero tolerance against rape, stigma and discrimination against women living with the virus and other forms of GBV.
She said past administrations have passed laws that will protect people living with HIV and facing unfair behavior.
She said: “I hereby encourage women living with HIV to know their rights and to seek justice when they are intimidated.
“As you may know, the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has zero tolerance for GBV perpetrators and stigmatizers through the VAPP law to ensure victims get justice.”
Tallen therefore commended the partners of UN-Women, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) and the Spotlight Initiative for developing strategies to address the daily challenges faced by women and girls living with HIV during containment of COVID-19.
Tallen said, “I also commend the partners for complementing the federal government’s efforts to empower these voiceless women in Nigeria.
“I believe this workshop will impact participants to improve their self-esteem and contribute their term to national growth.”
NACA Director General Dr Gambo Aliyu in a goodwill message said the Nigerian HIV / AIDS Indicators and Impact Survey (NAIIS, 2019) shows an HIV prevalence of 1, 5% in adults aged 15 to 64.
He stressed that focusing on gender issues was essential to reduce infection rates and improve the quality of life for people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.
He added that “this requires leadership and coordination and addressing the resource challenges to end violence against women, building on existing structures to extend the gains to the overall national response to HIV and AIDS.
“With the support of partners, NACA has carried out multiple interventions with and for ASWHAN and other vulnerable groups.
“Of note is the development of policy documents, frameworks, plans, guidelines and manuals to address HIV-related stigma and discrimination at all levels and to guide access to justice for people raped. “
The boss of the NACA therefore praised the efforts of the UN to establish partnerships and alliances for the cause and to work in all sectors in a comprehensive manner.
Mr. Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said the federal government has shown leadership in preventing the spread of HIV and protecting the rights of women and girls living with HIV.
This, he said, the government did by creating national institutions like the NACA and the NHRC, mandated with specific goals to achieve.
He said: “I believe that the responsibility for reducing GBV and stigma is a shared responsibility, although the main burden lies with the government.
“The cooperative engagement of UN-Women, UNAIDS, UNESCO, FMWASD and all stakeholders, as well as policy makers is needed to help the government secure and protect our women and our people. girls.
“Prevention efforts range from legal empowerment, civic education and advocacy programs to early warning systems and training community observers to protect vulnerable women and girls.
“The NHRC is committed to protecting the rights of women and girls and has implemented many measures to prioritize the rights of people living with HIV / AIDS.
“We have created a thematic department on women’s rights and another department for vulnerable groups, aimed at deepening the protection of their rights. “
Ms. Comfort Lamptey, National Representative of UN-Women Nigeria and ECOWAS, said the new Global AIDS Strategy (2021-2026) aims to eliminate the inequalities that are at the root of the AIDS epidemic. AIDS and putting people at the center of putting the world on track to end AIDS.
She said the bold new strategy sets a framework for transformative action to reverse these inequalities by 2025 and put every country and community on track to end AIDS by 2030.
She explained that the strategy was to unite countries, communities and partners across and beyond the HIV response to take priority and transformative actions to accelerate progress towards the vision of Zero New HIV infection, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths.
She noted that “decades of experience and evidence in the HIV response show that intersecting inequalities prevent progress in ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
“In Nigeria, gender inequalities and the low socio-economic status of women and girls continue to fuel women’s susceptibility to HIV infection, GBV, stigma and discrimination and other forms of abuse.
“Women living with HIV / AIDS face multiple forms of discrimination, stigma and discrimination because of their status.
“It is in this context that the UN-Women Nigeria Partnership Initiative – Institutional and Technical Capacity Building of Women and Girls Living with HIV for a More Inclusive HIV Response was designed and implemented. and sustainable in Nigeria (EITC).
“Key program interventions include supporting ASWHAN members to develop a five-year strategic note and fundraising plan to effectively focus and reposition the association to better respond to new and emerging infections.
“It will also launch various capacity building activities to strengthen the association and its members to engage and influence change,” she said.
Dr Omokhudu Idogho, executive director of the Society for Family Health (SFH), said the organization has worked on issues affecting people living with HIV in 19 states.
Idogho, who said SFH was delighted to work with ASWHAN, pledged more collaboration and support to the association. (NAN)
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