Chairperson of the Committee in charge of the HIV AIDS awareness campaign among transport sector workers in the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Trade and Transport Facilitation Project (ALCO); Dr. Comfort Datong has said that even though the campaign is in its sixth year and very successful, there is still a lot to be done.
She told journalists on Monday at the awareness campaign for transporters at Tin Can port in Lagos that, the campaign which is largely supported by the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) has greatly curbed the spread of HIV AIDS.
She disclosed that the HIV Component of the Abidjan-Lagos Trade and Transport Facilitation Project is aimed at ‘’increasing access to HIV prevention , basic treatment, support and care services for vulnerable groups with particular attention to transport workers , migrants, sex workers, Customs, and Immigration officials and the local population living and working along the trade corridor’’.
Dr Datong stressed that it is known fact that: “HIV can be transmitted via the exchange of a variety of body fluids from infected individuals, such as blood, breast milk, semen and Vaginal secretions”, even as he added that “individuals cannot become infected through ordinary day – to- day contact such as kissing hugging, shaking hands or sharing personal objects, food or water”.
The ALCO, which is in collaboration with the Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) however said the target is to wipe out incidence of HIV/AIDS among port workers in particular and transport workers in general.
According to her certain behaviour and conditions can expose one to the deadly disease. She listed them as: having unprotected anal or vaginal sex, having another sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, herpes, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, sharing contaminated sharp objects like needles and blades, and receiving unsafe blood transfusion, tissue transplantation, medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing and experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, particularly among health workers.
She said that the turnout has always been impressive each time the committee held awareness campaigns, and that this only confirms that there is still a lot to be done.
Dr Datomg added that the campaign has been on for about six years and that it has recorded tremendous success
She told journalists that the theme of the campaign, which is ‘my health, my right’ was carefully chosen because it “applies to everyone, regardless of who they are or where they live, has a right to health, which is also dependent on adequate sanitation and housing, nutritious food, healthy working conditions and access to justice. The right to health is supported by, and linked to, a wider set of rights”. Dr Datong assured that the campaign would be sustained.