Media Partners Dialogue On HIV/AIDs Advocacy In C-River

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BY UBON EKANEM, CALABAR – The National Action Committee on HIV/AIDS (NACA) has adopted a proactive narrative toward the effective implementation of advocacy campaigns on the prevention and control of the deadly Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

For effective mandate delivery, part of the narrative involves a change in the social behavioral communication approach as it relates to the National HIV Self-Testing (HIVST) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Communication Strategy.

Addressing a five-day training programme for domesticating the National HIVST and PREP Communication Strategy that opened in Calabar, the Cross River State capital on Monday, the South-South Zonal Coordinator of NACA, Dr Uduak Daniel, tasked media partners to show commitment and make conscious efforts at driving the new communication action.

Dr Daniel said a robust media partnership would ultimately aid the ongoing process and expressed delight that Cross River is now on board the train to effectively deliver on the HIV response mandate.

Noting that the role of the media in disseminating accurate information about HIV/AIDS cannot be overemphasized, she said the effective synergy between all SACAs in Nigeria and the media was required to achieve low epidemic control nationwide.

For her, there is no denying the fact that the role and responsibilities of NACA and its respective state agencies in achieving low epidemic control of HIV would be achieved through effective collaboration with the media.

The Media training programme, which draws sponsorship from organizations like Heartland Alliance Nigeria, AIDS HealthCare Foundation, and the State Action Committee on Aids (SACA), focuses on “Understanding Social and Behavior change communication, its cycle and elements; and Tackling HIV-related stigma through the media and identifying HIV and AIDS advocacy issues”.

At the event. there were presentations on ‘Understanding HIV and AIDS’; ‘Overview of Cross River HIV Response’; and ‘Overview of SBCC process and Elements’

With the National HIVST and PrEP Communication Strategy launched in Abuja on January 18, 2022, the NACA South-South Zonal Office (SSZO) had organized a three-day training from 23rd -25th February 2022 in Asaba, Delta State in fulfillment of its mandate to coordinate the zonal HIV response

The three-day event focused on building the capacity of media practitioners and relevant stakeholders on the implementation of the Strategy in the zone; Promoting emerging innovations in the South South HIV response space; Facilitating the fostering of Implementing partners agenda this year, among others.

In line with the next steps, States were expected to conduct State level domestication of the Strategy and development of centerpiece communication materials for priority populations in the states using the State Strategic Plan (SSP).

The outcome of the scaled-down training is to have finalized, state-specific, standardized, and production-ready messages and materials that stakeholders can use, as well as HIV-competent media practitioners in the State.

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