February 12, 2021
By Kelvin W. Morgan
The Network of HIV Positive in Sierra Leone (NETHIPS),in collaboration with the National Aids Secretariat (NAS), CARE-Sierra Leone, UNAIDS AIDS and the Sierra Leone Social Marketing Development Association(SLaDA) yesterday, 11th February, celebrated the International Condom Day with the theme ‘Wear mask, wear condom” at the Radission Blu Hotel, Aberdeen in Freetown
In his opening remarks, chairman of the occasion, Edmund Makiu, said the day was a special one not only for the prevention of HIV, but also for the prevention of sexual transmitted diseases among teenagers and adults across the country.
He said condom has been in use for quite a long time but that the advent of HIV and AIDS increased it usage and that, “it is good that people who are in front line of HIV have drawn others from other sectors to commemorate International Condom Day.
“This day is a day that we will sensitise the public on the use of condom and ensure they can understand about skills in using condom and the time.We are here to ensure that condom is important. Condom is not only meant for teenagers, but adult also need it so that we can protect ourselves from HIV,” he said.
Deputy Programme Manager, CARE-Sierra Leone,Yatta Musa, expressed her delight to be part of the occasion and stated that, since 1961, CARE-SL has been collaborating with the Government of Sierra Leone in promoting women’s and girls’ rights, especially in the area of who to marriage to, where and be able to access right to sexual reproductive health, which includes HIV and AIDS.
She recalled how HIV and AIdS was first discovered in France in 1983 with Sierra Leone recording its first case in 1987.
She said the Government of Sierra Leone has made considerable effort in combating the disease since it was discovered, with the establishment of different programmes.
She said they have a programmes with the Government of Sierra Leone through NAS referred to as the ‘HIV and AIDS prevention programme’.
“This programme mainly focuses on preventing the spread of HIV and AIDS between ages 15 – 24. Since education is key, we use it as one of the main components of the programme to increase knowledge about HIV and AIDS.” she said.
Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs, Lusine Kallon,said the government of President Bio strongly believes in human capital development and that under the human development, they have three priority areas including education, health and agriculture.
“So, basically we are here to take into account the youth who serve as the major pillar and with greater percentage of this country‘s population. We are here today to talk about the three principles in the use of condom and one of this is the ABC, (Avoid body contact, abstinence from sex, faithfulness and above all use condom,” he said.
Ruth Davies from SLaDA said the mission of her organisation is to evidently improve the quality of life of the poor and vulnerable people in Sierra Leone and increase access to health products and services ,primarily through advocacy, social marketing of health commodities and services, and multi-level health communication.
She said their vision is focused on having a society where everyone has full access to and benefit from social and economic resources.