CARITAS NIGERIA together with other stakeholders came up with a new way of fighting HIV by paying particular attention to children during a two-day training workshop, May 16 and 17, at Palm 77 Hotel GRA, Agodi, Ibadan.

The project was tagged “Early diagnosis and treatment for HIV-positive children, galvanising religious leaders for accelerated identification and linkage to pediatric art.”

Oyo, Lagos, Osogbo, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun and Edo states took part in the programme.

Rev. Fr Uche Obodoeduna, Secretary, Caritas Nigeria, in his opening remarks, called on the participants to be advocates of these children who are helpless by identifying with and knowing their status.

Fr Obodoeduna explained that Caritas believes that God is merciful, therefore early detection of these children would help to save their lives.

The priest enjoined the stakeholders to play their roles effectively by using the necessary mechanisms acquired during the training.

Rev Fathers and Sisters, he said, are particularly in position to partner others in the work of God.

Rev. Fr Ibe Anthony in his contribution affirmed that the Church should not shy away from the problem.

Fr Anthony described the project as a theology of hope, consolation and sympathetic solidarity with the children and the family. He emphasised that the pulpit through sermons can do away with stigmatisation.

Dr (Mrs) Ayinde, representing Agbona Dolapo, Oyo State IDS programme, assured that the state would identify with the Caritas programme.

Mrs Olusola Tolulope, a community mobilisation officer representing Mr Obatunde Oladapo, secretary, Oyo State Agency for Control of AIDS, said Caritas came at the right time because government could not handle the HIV programme alone.

Mr Stefena Nobile said Caritas International strongly believed that calls to action through road maps and global resolutions could be effective if brought down to community and local levels.

He said the event was an experiment of linkages between the role of the religious leaders in the community and that of health facilities in public health.

According to him, people respect religious leaders, listen to their messages and this will in turn remove the stigma from children with HIV.

Mr Nobile said the success of the training in Nigeria would replicate in the global world where pediatric HIV is still an issue.


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