Mayor wants countrywide
battle against AIDS
Matale Mayor Hilmy Mohamed has warned that if we do not take measures to protect our society the number of AIDS victims would drastically increase.
He was addressing a session of the 8th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and Pacific (ICAAP) held on August 22 and speaking on the theme ‘Healing of Wounds: Promoting Government - Community Dialogue towards Mutual Accountability for an Effective AIDS Response.’
Quoting from a statistical extract of a UNAIDS publication, the Mayor said that although Sri Lankans did not feel the seriousness of the situation, 872 people here were HIV positive, of whom 220 had developed AIDS and 162 had died.
As a person involved in local government, which was the closest to the people at grass-roots level, he said there was much to be done through local governance.
“There is a necessity for each local government region to have a high powered committee for action. It should be composed of representatives from the police, public health service, social service organisations, NGOs, private sector organizations and religious bodies,” he said.
He proposed a declaration should be made calling for a nationwide AIDS Eradication Year and that all people should work towards an eradication programme that could be launched at national level.
Mayor Mohamed referred to some vital steps that should be taken, such as having a programme for monitoring and following up to be enforced through local government authorities, conducting awareness programmes through local authorities, producing and exhibiting documentary films, preparing poster campaigns, co-opting NGOs, making law enforcement stronger and reducing opportunities for commercial sex.
He said the issue had been complicated because the magnitude of the problem was not understood.“It is like someone getting a wound. First the pain is felt, then the person gets used to bearing the pain, then the person learns to live with the pain, but the wound is still there and not healed,” he said.