By Alhagie Babou Jallow
The United Nations Youth leadership Network, ROJALNU, Friday organised a HIV and AID health walk at the Alliance Franco along Kairaba Avenue with the theme: Walk the talk to end AIDS by 2030.
ROJALNU, a French abbreviated word for United Nations Youth leadership Network is a non-profitable organisation established in 1994 and supported by UNAIDS and UNFPA around the African continent.
The organisation focuses on the important role played by young people in setting and following up on the objectives and goal of the international conference on population and development (ICP) in Cairo, Egypt.
The event took a form of march past from Churchill’s Town to the Alliance Francaise.
In her welcoming remarks, the president of the organisation, Teneng Jaiteh said the main objective of her organisation is to address and raise awareness on sexual and reproductive health and rights and eradication of HIV and aid.
“Develop youth personal skills through the provision of information and education skills. To enable young people make healthier choice about their lives and families,” he said.
The programme officer at the National Youth Council Alagie Jarju reiterated his council’s commitment towards strengthening youth awareness on the existence of HIV and AIDS.
He advised young people to abstain from sex or unprotected sex, to avert any threats of contaminating the disease.
The representative from The Gambia National Aid Secretariat Baba Jammeh pointed out that only 5% of the population knows their status whiles 30% on treatment are among young people.
These young people, he said are living with HIV, nearly 80% (4 Million) live in sub Saharan Africa. Globally, “young women aged 15-24 have HIV infection rates twice as high as in young men, and account for 22% of all new HIV infections and 31% of new infections in Sub Sahara Africa.”
Programme Assistant, UNAIDS Olymatou Cox stressed that UNAIDS will continue to build the capacity of youth organizations to engage them in the AID response.
“This is geared towards addressing issues such as policy and legal barriers for young people’s access to HIV services, scale-up of evidence-based HIV preventions and treatment programmes and increasing recourses for youth organization,” she said.
She added: “In terms of young people affected by HIV, UNAIDS is fostering innovation, securing, promoting human right and ensuring access to HIV prevention services.”
Cox reassured that UNAID shall not relent in its effort, “we will continue to work closely with ROJANU and other partners we achieve the desired zero infection, zero discrimination and zero AID- related death by 2030.”