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SIDA, UNAIDS Support Training of Journalists, CSOs

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The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS), under its H4+ / H6 project, has extended a training program for journalists and representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in additional three counties -River Cess, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape Mount.

Previous trainings were organized in Maryland, River Gee and Grand Kru Counties in 2014, bringing the total number of media practitioners and CSO members trained under the project to 60 in the six counties. Organized by the Anti-AIDS Media Network (AAMIN) – a Liberian based media group, in collaboration with the National AIDS Commission (NAC), the trainings aim to strengthen media/CSOs to increase demand for utilization of H4+/H6 services, including Prevention of Mother-to-Child (PMTCT) of Transmission of HIV and Antenatal Care (ANC) in the targeted six counties.

The H6 aims to increase coverage and access to quality comprehensive maternal, newborn health care services; strengthening Maternal Newborn Death awareness at all Levels; strengthening community, including men’s participation for maternal and newborn care services and improving monitoring and evaluation of maternal and newborn health services.

The training focused on how media and civil society representatives can use their expertise to educate the general population on the importance of taking advantage of PMTCT and ANC services to help save their unborn babies.

Speaking at the start of the week-long training in the new counties, the Executive Director of the Anti-AIDS Media Network, Necus M. Andrews, challenged the journalists and CSO representatives to scale-up efforts of creating demand for PMTCT utilization – part of their social responsibility to the nation and their counties.

Mr. Andrews said the lives of citizens, especially those in need of heath care services rest in the hands of the participants. According to him, this can only be achieved through proper information dissemination and increase awareness, building on the use of PMTCT services.

“Don’t consider yourself only as just journalists and Civil Society representatives during the implementation of this project in your respective counties, but a person called to save lives and to keep people healthy and strong. I wish you the best in your quest,” Mr. Andrews emphasized.

AAMIN’s Executive Director said gone are the days when HIV positive pregnant women gave birth to an HIV infected babies because the H6 project was being implemented in the six selected counties to address such issue.

He further urged the participants to use their persuasive journalistic and Civil Society techniques in encouraging pregnant women to seek care at each health facility to reduce the high numbers of Maternal Newborn Deaths.

Station Managers in the three counties, who took part in the training, welcomed the H6 project interventions in their counties and promised to get involved in informing the citizens, as well as representatives of civil society.

Mr. Togar Christian Chea – Station Manager of River Cess Broadcasting System (RBS), committed the station to working with the H6 implementing partners to create the needed awareness in educating the citizens about the importance of the PMTCT services.

“Preventing mothers from transmitting HIV to their unborn children is critical to the protection of lives, so we will do our best,” Mr. Chea noted.

-Edited by George Barpeen

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