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Sierra Leone
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

AIDS Secretariat sensitizes women on reproductive health

By Regina Pratt

The National HIV/AIDS Secretariat has engaged women living with HIV in a two-day awareness raising programme held at the conference hall of the Council of Churches in Sierra Leone, Kingharman Road in Freetown.

The 19-20 June event was to raise awareness on reproductive health and family planning, to educate women and young girls infected with the HIV virus on the significance of family planning and where they can access the service.

Speaking at the training, Communications Director at National HIV/AIDS Secretariat, Abubakarr Kargbo, said the Secretariat supports numerous HIV groups across the country.

He called on the women to regularly attend maternal health clinics so that they may benefit from family planning at government hospitals, adding that they have right to reproductive health rights.

“Family planning is very important in reducing the high rate of unwanted pregnancy, minimize poverty and space child birth,” he said, adding that they should eschew alcohol drinking which could be hazardous to their health.

The Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) Coordinator at the Secretariat, Finda Pessima, disclosed that the women should not underestimate the issue of family planning, as it helps them to delay child bearing.

She, however, noted that most women are dying because of frequent child bearing, which is not too quite good because as HIV patients they should use family planning methods to control childbirth.

She informed them that services are now being provided at different government hospitals, healthcare centers like Marie Stopes and Plan Parenthood Association, adding that these health facilities provide proper screening and services delivery to victims.

Different family planning methods were elaborated on by Sister Hilary, Matron-in-Charge of the HIV/AIDS clinic, who told participants about the two methods of family planning – long term and short term planning. She said the short term uses pills, while the long term makes us of injection for three months, condoms, the use of coil and implant.

A women living with HIV, Musu Jimmy, commended the United Nations Population Fund and National Aids Secretariat for organizing such educative forum for victims, as most among them are ignorant about the importance of family planning and where to access basic services.

The training, she said, was timely as it would educate them on where to access the right treatment and information.

Also, Rashidatu Bangura, Coordinator of HIV Support Action Group in Allen Town, said she would use information from the training to sensitize her colleagues, and commended the Global Fund for all the support they are giving them.

She called on the organizers to organize similar events at regular intervals, to enable them learn more about reproductive health.

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