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Stop Stigmatizing HIV/AIDS Patients - Mrs. Obiano

By Emeka Ozumba
(L-R): Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano handing over empowerment items to a beneficiary. She is flanked by Special Adviser on Youth Empowerment and Executive Director ANSACA, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim, and His Royal Highness,
(L-R): Wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano handing over empowerment items to a beneficiary. She is flanked by Special Adviser on Youth Empowerment and Executive Director ANSACA, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim, and His Royal Highness,
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The wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano has called on Ndi Anambra to help in stemming the trend of stigmatization of persons living with HiV/Aids by avoiding discrimination and gossip about their status.

The wife of the governor made the call over the weekend during the handover of empowerment equipment to two hundred and ten Care Givers for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) at Government House, Awka, Anambra State. The successful care givers were trained in Bakery and Confectioneries, Hairdressing, Beads making and Soap making under the Anambra State Agency for Control of Aids (ANSACA) empowerment programme with the technical support by the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ).

Mrs. Obiano stated that the trainees were carefully selected to include both carriers and non-carriers so as to defuse the tendency for stigmatization of those suffering from HiV/Aids. Said she:

“You are well aware that drugs for the treatment are expensive hence the need to support them with income stream that would help them sustain their treatment. It is important for us to stop stigmatization because HiV/Aids is no death sentence, and is not contagious once you do not have contact with blood. Once one is able to get regular treatment, the person can live a healthy life. As you can see the mix of the trainees being empowered today shows that both HIV/Aids carriers and others can co-exist.”

Mrs. Obiano, the founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ), a Non-Governmental, non-partisan, non-religious Organization engaged in the training and empowerment of women especially indigent widows and the less privileged, explained that the NGO encourage people to get engaged in productive ventures so as to be self-reliant and therefrom gain self-confidence and have high self-esteem. She called on interested persons to come forward and register in her office to be trained free; and confirmed that over two thousand five hundred persons have benefited from the empowerment initiatives of CAFÉ in the area of bakery and confectionaries, hairdressing, tailoring and fashion design, and telephone repairs

Special Adviser on Youth Empowerment and Executive Director ANSACA, Dr. Onyeka Ibezim, said that the programme was ‎conceived in 2016 by ANSACA in collaboration with Ministry of Women Affairs, and CAFE to train and empower the Care Givers. He noted the importance of empowering care givers to be able to sustain treatment of those infected by HIV/Aids to ensure that the treatment is complete.

He explained that 210 trainees were carefully selected to reflect a spread across the twenty-one Local Governments of the state. He thanked the wife of the governor and founder of Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) for providing ANSECA the expertise for the training programme.

Earlier, the Chairman of the event, His Royal Highness, Dr. Emeka Ilounoh, Igwe of Ifitedunu, thanked the governor’s wife for making available her the expertise of her NGO in empowerment programmes available to train the Care Givers who are being empowered to start-up on their own. He also praised the commitment of ANSACA to the welfare of persons living with HIV/Aids and called on the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme to make effective use of the empowerment equipment.

In a vote of thanks on behalf of the beneficiaries, Ebuka Ndubuisi a native of Ojoto commended ANSACA and wife of the governor for giving them a life changing opportunity with the empowerment and assured that they will not disappoint.