The 2017 AIDS Free Holidays, an initiative of First Lady, Chantal Biya has been launched in Yaoundé with peer educators exalted to use their android phones as a told to combat the spread of the HIV virus.
The three-week programme was officially launched a couple of days ago at the esplanade of the headquarters of African Synergy by the Minister of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda, President of the National AIDS Control Committee under the theme “The Android Generation, Click on the HIV Screen”.
As he launched the 15th edition of the AIDS Free Holiday in the presence of several government Ministers, Andre Mama Fouda said a recent study shows that 90% of youths have cell phones and 75% of them are active on the internet. So therefore, youths should use this channel to share messages on the advantages of knowing one’s HIV status. The government, he said, wants 90% of Cameroonians to know their status by the year 2020 so that 90% of them can be put on treatment.
While expressing his gratitude to the First Lady for efforts made at reducing the spread of the virus to 3.9% since 2015 from a prevalence of 4.3% in 2011, the Minister cautioned the peer educators on the practical modalities to succeed in the campaign. He advised them to use their mobile phones and different networks to talk with their friends to know the necessity that “when you know your status, you can better fight against HIV/AIDS.” Knowing one’s status early, he said, was an entry point to behavioural change towards HIV.
Other speakers told the youths to make sure that condoms become their identity cards through sensitisation.
Dressed in their lemon jackets, a total of 150 peer educators will be mobilised for the campaign in the nation’s capital. This year, the nationwide campaign will involve some 20 mobile units in the regions with some 650 peer educations all over the national territory. Some 100 000 screening kits will be used nationwide for the rapid screening.
Placed under the distinguished patronage of Mrs Chantal Biya, the campaign would be characterised by free screening, educative talks and the distribution of gadgets.
The esplanade of the headquarters of African Synergy was full to capacity at the launching as government Ministers, the diplomatic corps, students, different associations involved in the AIDS battle all converged for the launched of the 15th edition of the health campaign.
According to the President of the African Synergy against AIDS and Sufferings, Jean Stephane Biatcha, “this is one of the major activities of the First Lady of Cameroon, the founding President of African Synergy who wants to increase the awareness of youths. That is why we keep on sensitising the youths. Communication and sensitisation are the best strategies that we have in the fight against HIV/AIDS.”