Group holds training for HIV/AIDS
CALABAR, Nigeria, June 26 -- The University of Calabar Association for Aids Prevention (UCAAP), in partnership with The Nigeria Youth Aids Program (NYAP) has held a seminar against HIV/AIDS/ Drug Abuse.
The workshop was aimed at equipping fifty University of Calabar (Unical) students with the knowledge about reproductive health, communication skill and peer health education. It was also aimed at equipping the participants with building skills in maintaining self discipline especially absenting from illicit sex, drug abuse with its twin brother alcoholism.
The five days program started at the Chinua Achebe Arts theatre (NAT) on Monday 20th June 2011. On ground to flag off the occasion was Mr. Bernard Mathias Enyia who introduced dignitaries for the day who include; Prof. Emmanuel Ezedinachi (a Medical Doctor) Director of Research, Directorate of Research Science and Technology Education Post Basic Project, Unical Centre, Sir. Alfred Mboto, Chairman of the NYAP Governing Council, Martins Alukpa the representative from the State Agency for the Control of Aids (SACA), Mrs Anita Eyo represented the Dean Students’ Affairs Prof. Joe Aso, Prof, Bassey I. Okon. The University Bursar was also represented.
After the opening formalities, the seminar moved to the UCAAP seminar hall where five day training commenced. The program kicked off with the topic: ‘’values and value clarification’’. It was an interactive session where all the students participated accordingly. Other issues like reproductive system, drugs and its effect as well as drug abuse were equally treated. The participants were enlightened on communication skills, decision making models, among others.
The participants were made to work in committees to help build that necessary working environment which they need in order to serve well as future health educators. The essence of the committee division was to give the participants opportunity to share ideas and enlighten themselves on the knowledge they get from the program. It was also to inculcate the spirit of sportsmanship and teamwork in the participants.
Before the start of each day’s seminar, a recap of the previous day’s seminar topics would be done. By this time, the students will be given the opportunity to teach each other what they have learnt the previous day. Questions were equally entertained during this time.
The seminar was more interactive than formal. Each resource person adopted a more practical way of brandishing his or her topics to crave the students’ attention. Most times, varieties were introduced along the line to make sure that the students were psychologically concentrated during lecture times.
The participants were equally provided with breakfast and lunch throughout the five days training as well as transport allowance.
More interestingly, the euphoria of masculine gender supremacy was neutralized. There was a change of sitting arrangement everyday so as to encourage social relationship among the participants.
Ekaji Paul Oko the president of UCAAP Unical and also the Sergeant-at-Arm (SA) Students Union Government (SUG) Parliament informed our crew that the driving force of the organisation is their concern to the young persons, the youths and their safety and also the need for the students to be taught on the sexual preventive techniques to stay healthy as well as the increasing rate of HIV/AIDS in the country. According to him, the organisation achieves its aims through rallies, workshops and seminars like this. He taught the participants on peer education and how the participants can educate their peers on the problems effecting the youths in the society.
One of the facilitators for the final day, Williams Oyi handled the topic: ‘’Work-plan’’. In his training, he discussed the need for strategic planning and time management. Making reference to the academic environment, Williams emphasized decision making. He pointed out that the relevance of planning is brought to bear when it is well implemented. Dr. Eyo Okon , Director of the Unical Medical Centre, was equally one of the resource persons in the workshop. He informed Campuslife that ‘’the aim of the seminar is to sensitise the students on issues relating to AIDS and drug abuse, matters of sexuality and leadership roles’."
Susan Etukudo, the immediate past Vice President of UCAAP, handled the training on condom packaging and marketing. While speaking with Campuslife, she saw her role in the program as a thing of joy; ‘’working as a social worker for the society and trying to educate others on the need to protect themselves and be responsible citizens of the Country is more of sacrifice’’. She sees the program as priceless to the lives of the students as it affords them the opportunity to get firsthand knowledge on the implications of some social vices like drug abuse, indiscriminate sex among others.
Speaking with Campuslife at the end of the training Ahanonu Emmanuel 300level political science said, ‘’the program is fantastic as many have longed for an opportunity to receive this training. This is a life changing training that will sustain one all throughout life. This is one week of packed information’’. On his part Joseph Icham described the program as ‘’grounds where future educators on health issues like sexually transmitted diseases are trained’’.
Edim Christy Eba, 200level department of Banking and Finance, advised the participants to summon the courage to impart the knowledge gotten from the program in the society at large and as well live exemplary life so that they can be reference points to students at large. Collins Acham confessed to Campuslife that the program has been able to upgrade his knowledge on HIV/AIDS and has equally taught him how to impact the knowledge to his peers and siblings.
On her own, Matilda Emmanuel 300 level Education Administration and Planning acknowledged that the program has opened her eyes to so many issues she never knew before and others she has been neglecting all these years. She promises to impact whatever she learnt to others ‘’so that together we all can kick out HIV/AIDS from the society’’ she concluded. Oshewale Adewale, the immediate past President acknowledged that the aim of the program is to help reduce HIV in the society by educating the youths about the virus.
Nebu Blessing Neji, department of Sociology 400 level affirmed that she learnt how to prevent HIV/AIDS and also how to stop stigmatization and to care and encourage those infected by the virus. On her part, Amarachi Joseph 200level social works informed our crew that the seminar has afforded her the opportunity of seeing the female condom for the first time and equally taught her how to use it. She praised the organisers for the quality time they spent in educating the participants on the various topics. She equally promised to impact the knowledge she got in other people who were not opportune to attend. She finally advised the students that ‘’abstinence remains the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases’’.
The final day featured a mini drama on the use of condom performed by the students. The ten students both male and female advocated the possibility of HIV/AIDS free generation if youths get more knowledge on how best to use both the male and female condom.
The students were taught the UCAAP anthem.
Certificates were equally issued to the participants. While presenting the certificates, Mr. Bernard Enyia thanked the students for turning out for the program in spite of the holiday. He urged them to pass the message around both in school and at home. Especially, he challenged them to put all they have learnt into practice in order not to fall victims of the sting of the deadly virus.
The entire participants were inducted as permanent members of UCAAP as they have been informed about issues that bother on HIV/AIDS.