HIV/AIDS: UNICEF, NOA Tasks Media on Increased Reportage on AYPs

By: Victor IHIDERO, Zaria

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has tasked journalists to intensify news reportage on Adolescents and Young Persons (AYPs) related issues.

UNICEF made this call  in Zaria during a One-day media executives, reporters and producers meeting on the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and AYPs.  The Head of Media and External Relations Officer, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, Rabiu Musa noted that the essence of the meeting is to review the media activities and reportage for the first quarter of the year while also providing relevant information which is needed to fill existing gaps in the reporting of PMTCT and AYPs programs.
“There is a need for us to take stock from media executives and reporters as we look forward to providing relevant information which will help young persons make informed decisions at critical stages of life

“Adolescence is the age of change. It is a vulnerable time when adolescents and young people can develop unhealthy habits and take actions that will alter the progress. It is important that the media provides meaningful contents that will guide the choices young people make”, he said.

While briefing reporters on the need for increased reportage on HIV/AIDS among AYPs and  PMTCT, Dr Idris Baba,  HIV Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna,  noted that kaduna State has recorded some progress in its efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS  prevalence  among AYPs and PMTCT

“All-in  approach is one of the strategies that is being deployed to reduce  HIV/AIDS prevalence.  It has two objectives which are to ensure 75% reduction  of new HIV infections among adolescents by 2020 and 65% of AIDS  related mortality among adolescents by 2020”, he said.

Faruk Chiromari, a Child Protection Specialist/Consultant and a resource person for the meeting highlighted the common problems that compel adolescents and young persons to take uninformed  actions. According to him, physical,  emotional,  behavioral,  educational changes as well as drug and substance abuse, are critical problems that affect young people and these are areas the media can provide contents for

“The solution is to make AYPs aware of bodily changes and to help them adapt to these changes. Children who reach puberty early find it embarrassing. This leads them to take impulsive actions which can be harmful. With good media reports, both parents and young people can be aided on how to go about getting help when confronted with HIV/AIDS related issues”,  he said.

In the same vein,  Mrs Tamani Yusuf, one of the resource persons and former managing director of Kaduna State Media Corporation said that the media has important roles in addressing HIV  prevalence and PMTCT issues saying that  “the media must encourage parents to raise children in a pleasant and disciplined atmosphere

“The media has a role to play in  encouraging parents to teach AYPs  the right values. We have to raise public awareness on the importance of parents making their children their friends so as to encourage them to share their experiences”, she said.

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