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REPORT ON THE TWO DAY SEMINAR/WORKSHOP ON HIV/AIDS, PROSTRATE CANCER, CERVICAL CANCER, AND HIV/AIDS VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING EXPERIENCE HELD AT THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, BUKAR DIPCHARIMA HOUSE, ABUJA, ON AUGUST 21ST-22ND, 2013.


AWACIO in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Transport (FMT) held a two-day seminar/workshop on HIV/AIDS, Prostrate and Cervical Cancer which included Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) of staff of the Ministry on HIV/AIDS on the 21st and 22nd  of August, 2013.

The event was declared open by the Permanent Secretary of FMT represented by Mrs. F. N Egbuniwe, the Director of Human Resources. She used the opportunity to inform the general public that the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Nebolisa Emodi, held the welfare of the staff in high esteem and thus created this need for the HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling and testing and the cancer seminars. She also encouraged the staff to perform the necessary HIV testing to know their HIV/AIDS status.
The event started with Registration prior to the welcoming remark and opening prayer. Following the opening prayer, Registration continued. Memo pads and biros where given to staff at registration to enable them to write something during the seminar. The MC continued the program by formally introducing VIP guests.


The Scientific Speaker from AWACIO, Dr. Omolade Oladejo, spoke on Cervical Cancer “A neglected human tragedy in developing nations”. She used the medium to avail the FMT staff on the danger of having multiple partners and not taking care of their health. She said the general saying is not my portion, God forbid,I reject it in Jesus Name was also making it impossible for people to take care of their health. She said that Cervical Cancer can be treated once it was identified in early stage. She advised that we should act now as it is urgent! So many staff become suddenly ill and drop off dead without realizing they are carrying the late stage action of Cervical Cancer.


Another Scientific Speaker from AWACIO, Dr. Philip M. Lenka followed immediately to speak on Prostrate Cancer “The silent killer”.  For him, Prostrate Cancer is not a sickness for the young and that it could easily be identified. According to him, the symptoms usually showed up from 40 years and above. He said that unlike other cancers, Prostrate cancer could be totally treated but only if it was identified on time. However, healthy diet is advised! Detection of Prostate Cancer at a late stage is terminal.


There was a 5 minutes break in order to give the audience room for questions. The following were some of the questions asked by the audience:

  1. Can someone with prostate cancer transmit it to his partner, just like HIV/AIDS?
  2. What are the remedies of prostate cancer?
  3. Can painful menstruation cause Cervical Cancer?

 

The Third Scientific Speaker from AWACIO, Mr. Solomon Akuboh spoke on the Healthy living Diet for Prostate Cancer. He enlightened the staff on the need to live a healthy life. He said that G-BOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries and seeds) have powerful anti-cancer diets. He also advised on the need for people to reduce consumption of animal protein, engage in regular exercise and enough water intake. According to him, cancer would not be a story if healthy diet is maintained.
Finally, Dr. Ada of Gede Foundation, an AWACIO affiliate, talked on HIV/AIDS and the benefit of knowing your status. He further encouraged everybody to endeavor to do the test for HIV/AIDS after the seminar.


The VCT commenced immediately after the seminar within the FMT environment. From the funding to do the seminar and workshop, the Ministry received the funds for providing the meals and T-shirts to participants while AWACIO was responsible for the caps, memo pads and biros used during the workshop. The management of AWACIO made provision of caps to staff that tested as a form of motivation to do the test while the Ministry provided and distributed meals to staff, and T-shirts for those that were tested.


A total of 79 employees were in attendance for the seminar while over 200 FMT employees came out for HIV test. The poor “turn-out” for the seminar by the staff of FMT was as a result of sudden change of venue and very poor advertisement of the workshop by the Ministry. The staff complained that they were not adequately informed about the program and then the sudden change of venue on the day of event by the Ministry.

Media Coverage:
Three television stations (NTA 5, NTA network news & NTA 24) were present at the event and they televised this seminar in their station for three (3) days.

Vendors:
Vendors on Prostrate and Cervical Cancer and other health issues were available on site to provide very good information on these types of cancers.


The Result:
The counseling and testing team served a total of 226 clients/staffs of the Ministry of Transportation, males and females. Amongst the 226 clients tested, both married and unmarried only 5 (1.2%) tested positive while the remaining 221 clients tested negative. The program ended on 22nd August, 2013 at about 3 pm.
AWACIO would like to initiate a follow-up procedure to support these staff that tested positive. However, we wait to be directed by the Ministry.

SOME OBSERVATIONS FROM COUNSELING

  1. A smaller percentage of the clients aged between 24 and 35 years old got tested for the first time.

  2. A good number of the clients are fully aware or knowledgeable about  HIV/AIDS

  3. Many of the clients were glad and saw it as a welcome opportunity to repeat the test, and requested that other tests like cancer and hepatitis (B & C) tests should be done when such activities are conducted.
     
  4. The staffs cut across people from different, departments and classes including; low, middle and upper class.

  5. The clients were generally knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS

  6. Few of the clients were tested for the first time.

Recommendations and Action Points

    • AWACIO strongly advice the Ministry of Transport to consider our follow up procedure so that positive clients can be attended to immediately and referred to appropriate health facility for proper treatment and care.

    • Regular VCT should be conducted at the Ministry of Transport.

    • We recommend that cancer and hepatitis (B & C) tests be conducted at the Ministry, as majority of staff, management team, and directors asked if the tests were available.

    • Regular HIV/AIDS testing and counseling should be conducted in the ministry after every 3months.