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Use Of Radio As An Effective Mechanism In Prevention Of HIV/AIDS



Partnering With Radio Organizations To Address The Community On The Use Of Radio As An Effective Mechanism In Prevention Of HIV/AIDS, ANIBIIRE MUSIBAU IDOWU writes.

By Banibiire Musibau

The outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and its consequences on human security have attracted attention of states and international organizations in the recent times. Before now, HIV/AIDS virus was never reckoned with an most often treated with levity, but “at the start of the century, it received high level attention.” (Singer 2002). To this extent, it now figures as an important reference point in international fora. Thus, a personality of no mean stature like the former South African President, Neison Mandela, declared it “the needed struggle”. He was indeed referring to their nationalist struggle against white minority leadership as the first struggle. In the same vein, African heads of state have declared the fight against the virus  as ‘continental emergency’ (Copson 2001), the Bush administration through the secretary of state labeled it ‘national security problem’ most importantly, it was asserted that;

Nothing we have seen is a greater challenge to the peace and stability of African societies than the epidemic of AIDS… in AIDS, we face a war more debilitating than war itself because in so many countries it is seldom spoken of, because the voices of its victims do not reach the corridors of powers. We face a major development crisis, and more than that a security crisis. For, without economic and social hope, we will not have peace, and aids surely undermines both (Wolderson 2000).

The joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the world Health organization (WHO) both estimated that  42 million of all categories of people are infected with the disease through the world (UNAID/WHO 2002). From the figures and pictures present, it is obvious that the continent of Africa is the most affected (Ostergard, Jr. 2002). South and Southern Africa represents the “epicenter” of the disease not only in Africa, but worldwide (Heineken, 2003)”. Others have gone further to give relevant statistics such as those ones presenting Africa as the hardest hit with between 70-71% of global infected people and 91% of children orphaned by the disease (Caldwell, 2000).

It was argued, “The fifteen countries with the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa (Patel, 2001)”. It is very important for us to ask:

Why is the prevalence level in Africa the highest?

How can we minimize the spread of the pandemic in Africa?

It is a glaring fact that in order to uphold peace in Africa, the issue of HIV/AIDS and poverty in the 21” century must be properly addressed. Then, the use of Radio now becomes significant to inspire the government on the need to see poverty, ignorance, early age of sexual debut, lack of awareness and poor gender empowerment as factors influencing HIV/AIDS on the society. As well, to give room for other sectors to be involved in the improvement to reduce HIV/AIDS at Grass-roots level from its further spread.

HIV/AIDS  is one of the most public Health problems in Nigeria and the world at large. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS infection is bound to have a major social and economic impact on the people at the  Grass-root of every society. Therefore there is the need for urgent and prompt attention to control its further spread among  our people in different communities in our great Nation Nigeria through proactive enlightenment campaign against scourge.

“No media of mass communication can do it better than Radio Grassroots Medium. The present competitive media environment cannot for now diminish the power of Radio Grass-roots medium because of its all pervading nature”.

1. The objectives of this paper presentation is to clearly identify the role of Radio as an information dissemination to grass-root people  in the language the understand.

2. To define the roles of government in minimizing the spread of the disease.

3. To impact skills and techniques on how to reduce the transmission of the disease from parent to unborn children.

4. To assess the response of both regional and international organizations to the pandemic in Africa.

5. Learning new innovation to modern trends in prompt implementation of HIV/AIDS project at the Local Government levels.

6. To rescue the community from the menace of HIV/AIDS in the society and to create a better result oriented programme for meaningful development.

7. To identify the sustainable economic development means of controlling /preventing HIV/AIDS at the grass-roots level.

8. Planning and implementation, policy and politics of multi sectoral response to HIV and AIDS, including planning and Management and Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS in Development sectors and organizations.

9.  Gender, right and Development must be given consideration.

10. Implications of Poverty, ignorance, early age of sexual debut, lack of awareness  and poor gender empowerment obstructing open debate on sexuality programme must be address.

In conclusion, this presentation on the use of Radio as an appropriate medium is part of an initiative that seeks to provide an international platform for debate and collaborative arrangement by relevant stakeholders within the broader objective of developing a framework for ensuring effective mechanism for minimizing and preventing the spread of the disease (HIV/AIDS) and also the empowerment of (PLWHA) under Care and support programmes in our great nation, Nigeria.

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