Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

From TCNEWS

Association of Women Living With HIV/AIDS In Nigeria, ASWHAN has called on the government, national and international donors and the relevant stakeholders to accelerate investment in HIV programmes for women and girls living with HIV.

Addressing Community Mentor Mothers in Umuahia, Abia State in commemoration of the year 2024 International Women’s Day with the Association’s theme, “Count Women Living With HIV In; Accelerating Gender Equality Through Economic Empowerment”, the State Coordinator of ASWHAN, Mrs Phina Ogbuagu also called for support to the Association with economic empowerment and life building skills, to aid it empower about 56 percent of women living with HIV in Nigeria, to live a decent and productive life.

The Association also called on government at all levels to include women living with HIV in Social Investment Fund; Conditional Cash Transfers; Palliative distribution and also create employment opportunities for them.

Pix: The Abia State Coordinator of ASWHAN, Mrs Phina Ogbuagu, speaking during the event.

Her words, “ASWHAN is calling on donor partners to support us with funding and technical support to help build the capacities of our members especially the support groups at grassroots to enable them engage with their communities and to advocate for their rights.

“We call on Small and Medium Enterprise Organizations to include ASWHAN in their skills acquisition and economic empowerment programmes, to train our women on different business skills, support them with small grant to boost their businesses and support us to form cooperatives. We want our women to be economically empowered. Women Living With HIV, WLWH are suffering with no source of income and are burdened with children and other dependents to take care of”.

Mrs Ogbuagu who passionately called on the Federal and State Ministries of Justice; Human Right Commission; States House of Assembly to ensure domestication of anti stigma law and enforcement where need be, to protect the rights of WLWH, observed that gender equality has remained one of the greatest human rights challenge, women living with HIV experience in their daily affairs.

While also calling for the engagement of ASWHAN in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmissions (PMTCT) program implementation and service delivery, Ogbuagu maintained that no child should be born with HIV, hence the urgent need to make ASWHAN the face of PMTCT in Nigeria to end mother to child transmission of HIV.

“The burden lays with us, make ASWHAN partners in this fight. We are calling on Global Fund, the PMTCT implementing partners to include ASWHAN in the Global Circle 7 PMTCT implementation, we are the mentor mothers, we carry the pregnancy and we deliver the children in the labour rooms, we are the only ones that can prevent the transmission”, Ogbuagu maintained.

Furthermore, the ASWHAN Abia State Coordinator passionately called on religious leaders to always preach nondiscriminatory massages in the places of worship, to allow women living with HIV marry spouses of choice.

By NWAMARA

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