The Society for Women and AIDS in Africa Nigeria, SWAAN, has urged indigenous companies and individuals to be committed in supporting government in the fight against HIV/AIDs in the country. Speaking during a 15 kilometre walk to sensitise residents of Ojuelegba in Surulere, Lagos, SWAAN President, Mrs. Funmi Doherty said that it is high time Nigeria as a country doubled efforts in the battle against HIV moreso as supporting donors from outside the country are withdrawing their services.
“During our collaboration services with Traditional Birth Attendants, TBAs, to ensure that pregnant women tested for HIV access Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission, PMTCT, we notice that whenever we refer them to facilities to access ACTs they were asked to pay for the test which was free when we had external support as a country. “The implication is that compelling these pregnant women to pay for service will eventually result in a setback in our achievement as a country, if we want to achieve total elimination as a country then we need to address this issue.
“A woman that has no money and is HIV positive will go back to the house and go to the TBA to have the baby which is not in any way helping the success we would have recorded as a country.”
Conducting free HIV screening and counselling for participants to mark their 25th Anniversary, Doherty remarked: “This year, the theme for world AIDS Day is Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation and to do this we cannot avoid to relent in creating awareness and counselling in the 29 states where SWAAN branches are located in Nigeria.
We have also established a broad base and acquired wealth of experience in networking and advocacy, which makes it an important resource for reaching out and mobilising communities at the grassroots level.”