Gambia: LRR Celebrates World Aids Day

Lrr — The people of the Lower River Region (LRR) on Saturday joined the rest of the world to observe World AIDS Day, at a ceremony held in Soma, Jarra West District. The theme for the event was 'Getting to zero new infection and HIV/AIDS related death, as well as stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS'.

Abdou Njie, the deputy governor of LRR, told the gathering that the government of The Gambia will remain committed to the creation of an enabling environment through concrete action and policy engagement, with a view to strengthen the gains made in the national response to HIV/AIDS.

He said the government emplored on everybody to play a proactive role towards the national strategy agenda for HIV/AIDS. " Together we will be able to identify transmission hot spots, as well as to empower people, particularly young people and those affected or infected by the virus," Njie posited.

Momodou Lamin Manneh, the director of the Mansakonko-based Regional Health Team in LRR, said that a lot has been done in the fight against HIV/AIDS, noting that a free Voluntary Cancelling and Testing (VCT) services has already been available at Soma major health centres since 2005.From 2010-2012, he revealed a total of 1745 VCT has been conducted and that a total of 218 positive cases have been registered under this service among others.

Manneh expressed appreciation to the government for their effort in the fight against HIV/AIDS, through the Kanilai Alternative Treatment Programme initiated by the President, which he noted has registered visible success.

The Regional AIDS coordinator in LRR, Ousman Sow, reminded the gathering that World AIDS Day is an annual event commemorated worldwide. He added that the day is meant to raise awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with a view to renewing commitments in the fight against theepidemic as well as to remember those who die of the decease.

Sow told the gathering that the theme for this year's celebration, 'Getting to zero new infected and zero AID related deaths, as well as zero stigma and discrimination' is quite apt. According to him, this team will continue to be used as a team for the next five years to come.

Other speakers included Chief Yaya Jarjusey and Kaddy Kanyi, a peac -corps volunteer.

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