ENGAGING COMMUNITY ACTION GROUPs (CAGs)

To effectively reach those who are difficulty to reach in the fight to end HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is vital to engage families and communities so that no one is left out in the effort to eradicate HIV in our world. In order to ensure that we reach the grass root, we select and form what we refer to Community Action Groups (CAGs) in each community where we are carrying out an intervention. SAID is working in three LGAs Mbano, Ahiazu and Obowo for this particular intervention. Six communities are further selected for intervention in each LGA. Community members are selected from each of the communities and trained in health promotion. They conduct in-home visits to the members of their communities, raise awareness and sensitize community members on the challenges of HIV/AIDS, and also on non- communicable diseases that are becoming an epidemic among many of our people. In the picture above, we see a group of CAG being trained in Obowo LGA. In our founder's facebook, Dr Chikezie Onuoha, he narrates the telephone discussion he had recently with a friend of his. He writes: "This morning I spoke with a friend who narrated about the death of a man he knew. The young man, who got married not more than a year ago, died recently of HIV/AIDS. It is shocking how some men and women in many communities in Nigeria knowing quite well that they were infected with HIV virus go ahead to get married to someone without disclosing their HIV status. Of course, they end up infecting their partner resulting in the couple losing their lives to HIV/AIDS. This is why the work SAID is doing is absolutely important and should be supported. It is important to break the silence surrounding HIV/AIDS in our communities. It is the height of wickedness and criminal knowing one is HIV positive and concealing it to the other, and even having children who are in turn infected because of the criminal silence of one of their parents". Further, he rightly observes: "Today, HIV is no longer a death sentence as it was in the past. Infected persons, when diagnosed early and start treatment can live a normal and long life just like any other person. Please stop sentencing some one else to death because you want to be a married man or woman. Many have died in many communities and families and their family members talk about it in hushed tones". Members of the Community Action Group (CAGs) from the six communities of Obowo of the three LGAs SAID is presently working in a Training/Workshop on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV PMTCT. This training was designed to equip them for in-home visit in their various communities Teddy Ihens SAID

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