By Yekinni Adeyemi
In commemoration of the World AIDS Day, youths under the umbrella of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP Nigeria) held a symposium in Abeokuta, Ogun State to discuss how communities can be involved in the prevention of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome HIV/AIDS. The symposium was held in conjunction with Knowledge Over Drug Abuse and Precious Pharmacy, Abeokuta with the theme: Communities make the difference.
The event which also focused on drug abuse and other drug related issues among the youths. The rate at which youths in Africa abuses substance is so alarming and has negated the functionality of these brilliant and smart brains. Nigeria has in recent times recorded increasing number of her future generation go into drugs and its implication on them and may later bounce back on the nation.
Bashorun Olufemi, the President of SSDP Nigeria who spoke on drug abuse and substance intake by people who inject drugs. He lamented the rate at which people share syringes in their bid to inject drugs plus other substance, which has contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst Nigerian youths.
In his words he said, “you will be shocked at how youths now inject substance in the name of drug intake and don’t be surprised, almost 10 to 20 people shares same syringe in this process, thereby transmitting HIV/AIDs freely’, Bashorun said.
In the same vain, The Federal Medical Center, Abeokuta urged community leaders, stakeholders, opinion leaders and corporate organizations to join hands in curtailing the spread of the viral disease. The representative of the medical centre at the workshop and sensitization seminar, Dr. Funmilayo Oladeji identified ways which all stakeholders can be instrumental to the kick out of the virus and among them is periodic sensitization of the citizens by the people. “Our elders leaders and even teacher should take advantage of the office they occupy to sensitize the masses so as to put an end to this dreaded disease’, she said.
The Policy Manager for the Drug Policy Alliance’s National Affairs Office, located in Washington, D.C. has further appreciated the organizer and Nigeria as a nation for taking out time to see the need to combat HIV/AIDs as they have seen its total eradication as a war to combat by all. The organization further highlighted the need for people to know their status as this helps them begin early treatment.
Present at the event are representatives from Youthrise, African Students for Liberty, pharmaceutical partners, students from several institutions in Ogun State and environs, stakeholders, doctors and international organizations among others.