Wednesday, 17 July 2024.

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#IWD: C’River pledges health intervention for women living with HIV

By Solomon Azu

The Cross River State Government has pledged health intervention for the Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDs in Nigeria, ASWHAN.

The state focal person on Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission, PMTCT, in the State Agency for the Control of AIDS, SACA, Mrs Rose Ekum stated this when the state government partnered with ASWHAN to commemorate International Women’s Day 2024 in Calabar.

The programme which was organised with the support from United Nations, UN Women and other partners, highlighted the importance of investing in women to accelerate progress.

While reaffirming the state government’s commitment to supporting people living with HIV in the state, she emphasised the need for inclusive policies and initiatives that uplift and empower women, particularly those facing health challenges.

In her remarks, the State Coordinator of ASWHAN, Mrs Beatrice Ntui who underscored the 2024 theme entitled: “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”, called on religious leaders to preach non-discriminatory messages in places of worship, advocating for the right of women living with HIV to marry partners of their choice without stigma or discrimination.

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She also called on the government both at national and state levels to include women living with HIV in Social Investment Funds, Conditional Cash Transfers, and palliative distribution and create employment opportunities for them.

The state coordinator further called on donor partners to support ASWHAN with funding and technical support to help build the capacity of its members, especially the support groups at the grassroots to enable them to engage with their communities and to advocate for their rights.

“We are also calling on small and medium enterprise organisations to include ASWHAN in their skill acquisition and economic empowerment programmes to train our women in different business skills and support them with small-scale grants to boost their businesses.

“We are calling for support to enable us form cooperatives to empower women economically because women living with HIV are suffering with no source of income and are burdened with children and other dependents to take care of.

“We want ASWHAN to be engaged in prevention from mother-to-child transmission programme implementation to prevent any child from being born with HIV,” she emphasised.

In her address, the Cross River Coordinator, Network of People Living With HIV/AIDs in Nigeria, NEPWHAN, Mrs Cecilia Ofum, commended Governor Bassey Otu for his unwavering support for women’s rights and his commitment to placing women in high-esteem positions within his administration.

She observed that the celebration served as a beacon of hope and solidarity, reaffirming the collective determination to create a more inclusive and equitable society where every woman can thrive and contribute to progress.

She disclosed that the body is implementing GC7 in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory and has advertised for recruitment for
Mentor Mothers.

She called on NEPWHAN & ASWHAN to work together to better the lot of women in the state.

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