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The Good Shepherd Development Ministry has engaged media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders in a one day workshop on Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS. The event was held in Makeni on Saturday 11th August 2012 with the aim of training media practitioners with the required skills that will enable them channel accurate information to the public on PMTCT services. (Photo: Eliza Sillah GSDM Program Manager)
Eliza Sillah is the Program Manager of Good Shepherd Development Ministry. She informed this press that they want the participants to aware of the fact that HIV is real and that pregnant women affected with the virus can transmit it to their unborn babies if they don’t have the required information about the modes of transmission. “When journalists are well trained on PMTCT Services, they will be able to inform the public in a more guided, skillful and strategic way,” she said, and added that the overall objective is to letting the media have access to firsthand information and support services on the status quo on PMTCT.
The Regional Chairman of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists in the Northern Province said the media has a great role to play in ensuring a clear-cut message reaching communities on PMTCT Services. “The challenge is great of Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) on HIV and AIDS, but so too is the moral imperative that demands urgent attention. If we are to overcome this challenge, involvement of the media in PMTCT services is of great importance,” says Mr. Stanley Bangura. He noted that if the required information is not well channeled, there will be more problems in the overall response to HIV and AIDS in Sierra Leone. He admonished participants to treat the workshop with all seriousness so that at the end of the day they will be seen as active partners in the national response. Other speakers include the Communication Coordinator at Caritas, Alusine Suma.
One key issue that came up at the workshop was an understanding of the factors that affect women, which is critical to any effective measures to contain the spread of HIV and to deal with its effects for both women and men.
Participants were made to realize that the PMTCT Programme is family centered and act as an entry point for pediatric HIV care, ARV treatment, protection and care of orphans and vulnerable children.
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