… pledge to help stop stigma, discrimination
By Ibrahima Yakubu
NEWSDAILYNIGERIA– As the world celebrate world international HIV/ AIDS day, the chairperson of a Non- governmental organization (Peace Ambassadors advocacy to protect the rights of children ,women, orphans and widows in Nigeria) Mrs Deborah Labari has decried any form of discriminatory tendencies against people living with HIV/ AIDS
She stressed the need for Nigerians to shun all forms of stigma ,discrimination or differences among person living with the virus in the country, especially, women and children.
According to her, despite all efforts by both states and federal government, Humanitarian NGO,and concerned civil societies of Ngeria with faith based organizations towards raising more campaigns and awareness against the spread of the virus, there are still many people that stigmatizes women and children in both rural and urbans communities across the country
She made this known during an interview with Journalists in Kaduna to mark the World International AIDS Day at the Press center,
She noted that ,there are so many harmful effects associated with stigma and discrimination of person living with the virus which include feelings of shame, hopelessness and isolation, reluctance to ask for help or to get treatment, lack of understanding by family, friends or others, fewer opportunities for employment or social interaction, bullying, physical violence or harassment among others
She further stressed the need for all Nigerians to stop discriminating against person living with the Virus simply because that violates their rights.
While calling on Nigerians both home and abroad to learn how to talk openly about HIV and stigma in a way that can help empower those living with HIV.
She still emphasized the need for couples to be tested medically before marriage to avoid having children with the virus.
She said “ If each of us is committed toward making positive changes in our families and communities, we can help end HIV stigma and work to stop HIV together)
Adding that there are many babies with the virus today ,simply because parents refused to go for medical test before the marriage, while some hide their identity
Urging citizens to equally avoid stigmatising people with mental illness by seeing the person first and not labelling them by their mental illness.
” You can help challenge stigma by speaking up when you hear people around you make negative or wrong comments about mental illness,or discrimination against person living with HIV/AIDS ”
Similarly, some faith based organizations in the country have embarked on visiting some schools in the metropolis with the aims of sensitizing students dangers of stigma and religious ways to halt discriminating against person living with the virus
Pastor Yohanna Buru, the National President Peace Revival and Reconciliation Foundation of Nigerian says, every year, he organizes team of volunteer -Muslim and Christian scholars to visit schools and sensitizes the students on harmful effect of stigma and discrimination againt person living with all kind of diseases including tropical diseases.
He says, all religions in the world condemn all forms of stigma and discrimination against mankind especially persons living with HIV/AIDs
Stressing that every sick person needs healing not hatred or discrimination
Buru made the called when he visited a Kaduna based school ,which is part of his annually visit to mark AIDS Day
He then called on religious leaders to redouble their effort towards sensitizing the general public on religious guide in tackling stigma,hatred and discrimination against any person living with all kind of diseases