The China Henan International Cooperation (CHICO) and the National Aids Control Program (NACP) have embarked on a project that will take the awareness of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) to communities along the Harbel-Buchanan highway.
CHICO is a Chinese construction company, which is rebuilding the road leading to Buchanan City, beginning from Cotton Tree close to the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company, in Margibi County.
During the launch of the project in Lloydsville on Thursday, September 6, along the Buchanan highway, Mr. Isaac G. Bannie, the Monitor and Evaluation Officer of the Grand Bassa County Health Team (BACHT), while welcoming everyone, stated that CHICO was not only concerned with road construction business but also its concerns were towards the good health of its local workers and their families, who are within CHICO’s areas of work.
Bannie stated that all the 30 health facilities in Grand Bassa County can do the testing of HIV/AIDS free of charge.
The officer in charge (OIC) of the public health facility in the Lloydsville Township containing over 10 villages, Madam Featha Kolubah, told the gathering that she and her staffs were glad that CHICO and NACP had brought the awareness of HIV/AIDS to their doorsteps.
She further stated that it has added an impetus to the work that she and her co-workers are already doing in the area.
“We always tell the people who visit our facility that the issues of HIV/AIDS were serious and factual but I think on most of those occasions, they just do not take us seriously. I am glad you people are here to help us disseminate the message that HIV/AIDS kills,” Kolubah stated.
She told the local population that getting to know their status was free of charge and was available at the health facility in Lloydsville. She urged them to come to know their status as it relates to HIV/AIDS.
“It is part of our ethics to keep the results of the statuses of anyone who come to our facility secret and confidential. So when you come to us, you can trust that we are going to keep your results secret. It will be left with you to keep it secret or tell others,” Madam Kolubah added.
For his part, Mr. Dong Yaokang, CHICO’s Administrative Officer, who was very brief, told the gathering that his company was glad to partner with the NACP in creating more awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS at the place of work.
The Commissioner of the Lloydsville Township, Mrs. Agnes Artis, told the gathering that she was glad that the organizers took the awareness campaign against AIDS to her Township.
Commissioner Artis said Bassonians are noted for going on feasts, which last for days of dancing and singing. She stated that during most of those festivities, people live loosely because huge quantity of alcoholic beverages is consumed.
She promised to help spread the message against the killer disease to all the villages in her Township.
An elder of Lloydsville, also a staff of the Lloydsville health facility, promised to join hand with Commissioner Artis in helping to spread the message to all the villages in the Township.
The launching was inter-spliced with cultural performances from a cultural troupe from the Kendeja Cultural Center.
The dancers did traditional dances from Nimba, Bong and climaxed it with Bassa to the amusement of the locals, nearly all of whom speak the local Bassa vernacular.
They also performed a drama on one of the means by which HIV/AIDS is spread from person to person.
In the drama, a young lady, who was not used to wide living is seen being encouraged by her mother to get involved into life-threatening behaviors. The young lady chose not to until a childhood friend of hers came by and piled more pressure on her to not just sit and allow her mom to suffer in the village.
She gets involved into prostitution and not long she becomes sick. Goes from hospitals to hospitals and just could not get well from all the common illnesses, which knocked her down.
She was diagnosed and pronounced positive that she had contacted the HIV. However, she was counseled that getting the virus was not the end to her live. She was told to live healthily by taking the anti-retrovirus drugs (ARVS), which are given to those who come in contact with the virus.
The morals of the drama was explained to the locals in the Bassa vernacular by a staff member of the National Aids Control Program (NACP).
The NACP staff told the Lloydsville residents that staffers of NACP were going to be in their villages for three days spreading the message against HIV/AIDS. She urged the locals not to be ashamed but to ask every necessary questions that they might have on their minds when it comes to HIV/AIDS.