With the launch of our medical missions outreach, Our ministry has been inundated with hundreds of HIV/AIDS patients, widows and orphans requesting assistance. We have noticed a very rapid increase in the number of those who need help. Surprisingly we notice the absence of ministry in this area. We spent several months praying about Gods will for our intervention. Having gotten His blessing, we launched in March 2005 our HIV/AIDS Action Ministry.
COUNTRY SITUATION ANALYSIS:
Nigeria now has the highest number of HIV/AIDS-infected adults in West Africa. Yet majority of the people hide their condition, as it is regarded a social taboo The “Next Wave of HIV/AIDS” report of the US National Intelligence Council estimated 10 million15 million people living with HIV in the country by 2010.
a. Preventive Intervention:
By Preventive Intervention we create awareness and sensitize the people on how they could protect themselves and their communities from the effects of the epidemic. The aim is to increase the knowledge of citizens on the modes of transmission of HIV and how to take steps to protect themselves. After a field test on the appropriateness of a message, we translate it into the local language and transmit via church teachings, town criers, radio and TV adverts. Community mobilization is an integral part of this. Research, documentation and dissemination of information generated to stakeholders and the general public is also done. We develop prevention programs and target same at vulnerable groups such as women and children, sex-workers, boat drivers and other marine workers.
b. Care and Support Initiative
This begins with our voluntary counseling and confidential testing services. People are encouraged by our Leaders to come for counseling if they have any doubt or fears. Once someone tests positive, we begin the provision of home-based care from the church and the immediate family. The challenge here has always been stigma and discrimination. We have established a number of ¡§Support Groups¡¨ of People living with HIV/AIDS, so that they can encourage and help one another. In cases where the patient dies, the church has been there for the widow/widower and the orphaned children providing adult presence and care and undertaking the education of some. We currently use the extended family for support. Access to Anti-retroviral drugs is one of our current challenges. The costs of the tests as well as the distant places where they are available are a problem. We also undertake special counseling training to assist the local village health-workers for effectiveness in handling HIV/AIDS cases.
The HIV/AIDS scourge is such that there is ample need for cooperation among all that are concerned. To this end, we are a member organization of HIV/AIDS NGOs COALITION (HANCO) which is the private sector collaborating partner with the Delta State Government Action Committee on HIV/AIDS.(SACA)