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AFRO-NETS> Nigeria's Armed forces to launch HIV/AIDS campaign week

  • Subject: AFRO-NETS> Nigeria's Armed forces to launch HIV/AIDS campaign week
  • From: A Odutola <chpss_abo@yahoo.com>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2003 12:50:15 -0500 (EST)

Nigeria's Armed forces to launch HIV/AIDS campaign week

Datelinehealth-Africa News Service
Published: March 19 2003
By Staff Reporter

The Armed Forces of Nigeria will launch its Armed Forces HIV/AIDS
Campaign Week from March 23 running through the 28th, 2003. Colonel
Wale Egbewunmi made this known in a press release yesterday. Wale is
the Coordinator of the Armed Forces Programme on AIDS Control
(AFPAC). According to Egbewunmi, the week is set aside to raise HIV
prevention awareness in all military locations in Nigeria.

Activities earmarked for this year would direct and disseminate HIV
prevention messages to different sectors of the military barracks
community and sites that may not have been adequately reached in on-
going behaviour-change interventions sponsored by USAID. (To learn
more, click on:
http://www.fhi.org/en/aids/impact/briefs/uniformedservice.html ).

Fifty target groups and sites to be reached have already been identi-
fied. These include "service personnel, women or wives of service
personnel, in-school youths and out-of-school youths", says Egbe-
wunmi. Others include mammy markets and permissive environment within
the barracks. In Wale's words, "the efforts of individual unit's
would be augmented to enhance their ability to actively participate
in the activities of the week".

The Armed Forces HIV/AIDS Campaign Week will be flagged off on Monday
24 March at a ceremony at the National War College Abuja, after Sun-
day prayer in all military churches. On Tuesday 25 March activities
would be targeted at Service/Command/Unit levels (Personnel day).
Wednesday 26 March is Women's day, while Thursday 27 March is Youths
day. Friday 28 March is Mammy markets sensitization Day and the week
would be rounded off with prayers in all military mosques.

With an HIV prevalence rate nearing 25%, Nigeria's armed forces is
particularly hard hit and authorities are committed to containing the
spread of the virus in all military formations in the country.

In a unique and surprising move, President Obasanjo in August 2001
mandated the free distribution of condoms to all military personnel
as part of a set of intervention programmes to contain the spread of
the virus.
(See: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Datelinehealth-Nigeria/message/130>

Abstinence promoters and other critics however remain skeptical about
the effectiveness and long term sustainability of this programme.

Saying that condoms would encourage illicit sexual behaviour in bar-
racks across the federation, Elizabeth Akhaine of the Project for Hu-
man Development in Nigeria; added that "abstinence from sex before
marriage and fidelity in marriage are the ONLY 100 per cent solution
to genital spread of HIV/AIDS".
(See: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Datelinehealth-Nigeria/message/144).
For the armed forces, this is perhaps a tall order.

See below for more resources on HIV/AIDS in the military in Africa
and the world.

* HIV/AIDS in Nigeria's military

* AIDS prevention in the ranks

* Combat AIDS: HIV/AIDS and the world's armed forces

A. Odutola

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