#Zerodiscrimination: Stakeholders In Health Seek Holistic Approach
Stakeholders in the health sector have called for an holistic approach in addressing discrimination and stigmatization against people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
They made their position known At a media briefing to mark the Zero Discrimination Day in Abuja,
There are about 3.2million people living with the scourge in Nigeria but only about one million have access to treatment . Most people are defaulting due to non availability of the drugs
The Zero Discrimination Day is an annual day celebrated by the UN and other international organisations to promote equality among member countries of the UN.
The Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu urged Nigerians to desist from discriminating and stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
Dr Aliyu noted that it was important to advocate for the protection of Nigerians against HIV related discrimination as the world commemorate the Day.
The DG NACA who was represented by the Head of Gender and Human Right Unit, NACA Dr. Yinka Falola-Anoemuah, observed that knowledge about the virus would ensure that all forms of HIV related discrimination would be eliminated.
The National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) , Abdulkadir Ibrahim called on the federal government to increase support for people living with the scourge have access to quality treatment and drugs.
“Stigma against people living with HIV is still a major challenge in Nigeria till date., a lot of people still find it difficult to test and know their status.”
“It is also important for those living with the disease to first address stigma among themselves so that the general population will not continue to stigmatize them.”
On his part, the Program manager, Nigeria Network of Religious Leaders Living with HIV/AIDS NINERELA, Nwakama Ikenna who said there was the need to address stigma holistically appealed to young religious leaders to curb HIV/AIDS by educating their members.
Mr Ikenna said the organization was engaging religious leaders across the country to enlighten their congregations against stigmatizing people living with HIV /AIDS.
“In the last two years 150 religious leader in Anambra, Benue and Kaduna states have been reached with right messaging on stigma and discrimination.”he added.