The National Aids Commission or NAC, in partnership with the Anti-AIDS Media Network (AAMN) is holding a three-day capacity building training for scores of local journalists.According to the NAC-AAMN collaboration, the exercise is aimed at building the capacity of Liberian journalists and providing them clear understanding of how to report on HIV and Aids in the country.
The program director for NAC, Sandei Cooper says the training is to build up journalists’ capacity by providing them adequate knowledge on reporting AIDS.“We invited you today to widen your knowledge, as to how you go about reporting on the HIV and AIDS, especially to avoid stigmatizing people that are living with the virus”, he says.
The training is being held at the Monrovia City Hall, bringing together journalists from various media outlets, including print, electronic, and TV stations.Mr. Cooper says the commission is currently working on strategic plans, “where we have 90 percent of those that knows their status, and those are living with the virus, and to do this, the role of the media can’t be overemphasized, the media plays a pivotal role by conveying messages to the public.”
He continues that with the discovery of the virus in Liberia, there has been serious challenge in cutting the disease, saying “now we want the media to help in spreading the massage that people with the virus can live a better healthy life while diagnosed of the virus.
According to him, the best way to reduce the number of people living with the HIV virus is thru acceptance, after which patient will be placed on treatment to suppress the virus. “The essence of suppressing the virus low is to stop you from transmitting the virus to others.”
Also speaking at the opening of the training, the President of the Press Union of Liberia or PUL, Charles Coffey lauds the NAC and AAMN for the initiative in training journalists on how to report on the subject.Mr. Coffey notes thousands of people are infected with the virus, saying “the best we can do as a country to cut this disease from spreading, and taking more lives is to educate and create awareness.
The PUL boss cautions if nothing were done to control the disease, its widespread would affect the younger generation, and the country would enter into a situation like in other countries.“As we speak, our attention is on developing our economic potential, rehabilitating roads, education system but the deadly disease that has the propensity to undermine growth and development will affect our nation”, he adds.
He notes that because of the Ebola outbreak in 2014, attention on HIV/AIDS was limited, noting that doing the period of the fight against Ebola, HIV was rapidly creeping in the society.“This virus is in every county, and yet citizens are moving over the places not knowing their status, but the best we can do is to know our status and carry on awareness.”
By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne