DULF reaches out to widows on leadership and health matters
AS part of its programs to reach out to the grassroots, the youths, orphans on leadership and health driven concerns, Daniel Ukwu Leadership Foundation collaborated with NYNETHA in Enugu urban and rural communities.
On November 5, 2016 at the Cunic Hotel Transekulu Enugu, DULF and NYNETHA held a forum themed “The Role Of Women In Raising Healthy Children As Future Leaders.” The target was widows and OVC and the purpose was HIV education counseling and testing.
The facilitators were the Executive Director and founder of DULF, Daniel Ukwu, Paul Henry, Onyinye Mamah and Daniel Chibueze.
The program opened with the lead facilitator Mr. Daniel Ukwu of DULF creating basic information on the programs of the foundation and how it has continued to try to reach out to the people.
Onyinye Mamah, who spoke on HIV/AIDS, told the widows that they need to put in place a lot of preventive measures and health precautions. Most importantly, they had to be the standard for their children while educating them on HIV as the alternative of them relying on their peers had dire consequences. She warned them of the health dangers of random intimate affairs as widows but to be faithful within a relationship especially where a second marriage is not an option.
The key points were: HIV is a viral infection; AIDS is the advanced stage of HIV; HIV is contracted through contact with an infected blood or body fluid during sexual intercourse or through a child suckling the breast of an infected mother; HIV has no cure but can be managed through the religious use of retroviral drugs.
Mamah highlighted the need for protective measures, which include using sterilized and personal tools both in hospitals and home, abstinence or remaining in mono relationships, using screened blood for blood transfusion to ensure good health.
Emphasis was also placed on regular HIV tests especially where there are fears and doubts. The symptoms can only be confirmed by doctors or trained helath personnels.
The facilitator remined the widows that their present social status should not be viewed with depression loss of self esteem. She told them to understand how special and important they are as women and encouraged them to raise their children on strong moral grounds.
Mr Chido Meniru said: “There is no cure for HIV/AIDS, but treatment is available. HIV can be spread during sex play. Latex and condoms offer good protection, but the best protection is still to avoid sexual acts. As we all want to protect ourselves and each other from infections like HIV, adopting preventive measures are our best options.”
The widows acknowledged the challenges they faced especially with the raising of children. They accepted that it was only by the grace of God that the children are being raised. They were quite disposed to blood tests regularly only opting for clinics where the tests were free. To them, “we do not think that a widow who contracts HIV has done herself any good because she will not have anyone to take care of her.”
Among the challenges we observed were
- Some people still fear ad resist testing in order to ascertain their status. This affected the progress of preventive actions for such individuals
- Spiritual beliefs underrate the essence of some people finding out their status. They hide behind such fears to declare in faith, “I am above such ailments.”
- The factor of confidentiality, stigmatization and discrimination is still one of the core challenges HCT is still facing.