Friday, 30 November 2007

Fight Against HIV/AIDS Carried To Imams

Fight Against HIV/AIDS Carried To Imams

In the continuous and combined efforts at ensuring better public health in Nigeria, the ongoing workshop organized by the Muslims Against Aids (MAIDS) in conjunction with the Public Affairs Section of the United States Consulate General is a major landmark in the fight against HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Nigeria.

‘Protecting the Ummah: Role of the Imam’ is the theme of the 3-day HIV/AIDS workshop.

Speaking at the opening, Ms Mary Lou Johnson Pizarro, Public Diplomacy Officer at the US Consulate reiterated the important role of religious leaders in the effort to reduce HIV infection and the resultant effects of the social stigma. According to her, since HIV/AIDS does not discriminate against everyone based on their race, colour, ethnic tribe or religion, there is a need to ensure that the efforts at its reduction to come from various sectors of the society. She stressed that the Imams will serve as a catalyst for change because of their influential positions in their various communities.

Pizarro said, the US Government will continue to support the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and also expect that the workshop will serve as an eye-opener for the participants who have ample opportunities of relating and practicing the things they would learn in the course of the workshop.

Capt. M.B. Ahmad, one of the workshop participants said that the role of religious leaders in the fight against HIV/AIDS cannot be over emphasized because of the influence they have over their followers. He lamented the fact that there has always being workshops on HIV/AIDS organized for various groups of people but there has not being any for religious leaders especially the Imams. While lauding the organizers of the workshop, he was optimistic that programme will serve its objectives and expectation and urged for a more regular workshops.

The training for the Imams, which will be the first of its kind in Lagos, Nigeria, has participants from the various local government areas of Lagos. The workshop which is part of activities to mark the 2007 World AIDS Day is expected to end on the 29th of November 2007.

By Akinpelumi Akinlolu

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