Daily Trust (Abuja)

10 November 2012

Nigeria: Amata in HIV/Aids Campaign

Ace filmmaker and actor, Zack Amata said residents in rural areas do not benefit from commercials on HIV/AIDS awareness. This lack he said is what led him to create a movie which will be targeted for such citizens to further enrich their knowledge.

The artiste who was speaking at the just concluded 'AIDS 2912 Hub' organized by Center for Change and Community Development, in Abuja, said he is proud of Nigeria and proud of being a Nigerian. "But I feel ashamed that we are not reaching our potentials. Government can't be everywhere. Therefore, as an actor and film producer, I decided to use my talent to help raise awareness on HIV/AIDS in a lighthearted way which also tells them the gravity of the situation. I never knew the reality of the situation until I had to do an HIV/AIDS commercial."

The commercials only reach city viewers, he said. "The rural people even here in Pasepa which can be described as being in Abuja don't get the message.

"While in the U.S. last month I started working on a story that will carry the story of Preventing Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS and also Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). This will be taken to rural communities and involve oil, communication companies amongst others to fund the dissemination of the film after we have produced it. It will be produced in local languages but we haven't decided which we'll start with but it will likely be Hausa. "The movie will be shot in Pasepa and shown to residents there before being taken outside," he said.

Dr. Roland Abah who represented the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Prof. John Idoko said research was gaining grounds in the cure of HIV/AIDS as there is a new prevention technology drive to get vaccine and cure for the virus. The prevalence rate has dropped from 6.8 per cent in 2008 to 4 per cent today. There has been a 10 per cent drop in the last 10 years.

He said with about seventy thousand children are still born presently with HIV, "it is very necessary to support such an initiative which targets the rural areas who may not have access to electronic commercials educating them on preventive measures and how to manage the situation for those who may be infected. It is also important for women in those areas to have adequate access to antenatal care."

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