LAPO seeks end to discrimination against people living with HIV
A Non-Governmental Organisation, the Lift Above Poverty Organisation (LAPO) has called for an end to discrimination and stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
The Executive Director of LAPO, Ms Sabina Idowu-Osehobo, made the call recently at the 2017 World Aids Day programme organised by LAPO Lagos 2 Region.
Idowu-Osehobo, who was represented by Mrs Sandra Asowata, Regional Officer, LAPO Lagos 2 Region, said the theme for this year’s event, “My Health, My Right “, was very apt.
According to her, it is aimed at directing the attention of all stakeholders to the importance of erasing inequality in health care access irrespective of status.
She said :” According to 2017 UNAIDS statistics, Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and has one of the highest new infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
“Many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status due largely to poor access to HIV Testing Services while many of those living with the virus are dying due to inadequate antiretroviral treatment, including CD-4 counting machine.
“Where some HIV/AIDS services are available, high level of stigma and discrimination at community and facility levels is preventing uptake of the services.
“Today, our discussion sessions will be on hindrances to rights of people living with HIV to health and how the hindrances can be erased at the local level.”
Idowu-Osehobo noted that LAPO, from inception,had been involved in improving lives of the most at risk populations including the poor and the people living with HIV/AIDS.
“LAPO is playing a major role in addressing the challenges of maternal and child health and public health issues.
“LAPO deployed innovative prevention, management and support approaches in the fight against HIV/AIDS particularly In rural communities across the country.
“In 2016, the organisation reached over 1.2 million persons with social and health awareness programmes,” she added.
Also, the guest speaker, Mrs Ronke Alamu, a Matron at the Igando General Hospital, Lagos, maintained that the rights of people living with HIV and AIDS must be protected as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“People living with HIV and AIDS should not be discriminated against in the exercising of any of these rights nor should there be any stigma because a person is infected with HIV or living with AIDS .
“They deserve to be treated the same way as any other person,” she added.