Edo State First Lady, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, has kicked against stigmatization of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWA) saying that everyone deserves and should be treated with love irrespective of circumstances and backgrounds.
Mrs Obaseki made this assertion as she addressed the people of Edo during the distribution of income generating equipment to PLWA in Edo on Thursday, adding that the society would be a better place to live if the less privileged were catered for and respected.
Commending the courage and confidence of the PLWA in the state, she said, “Nobody needs to die from the HIV/AIDS disease as science and technology has provided treatment measures”.
She assured the PLWA in the state of good lives and government support since the state has domesticated the anti-stigma law to protect their rights.
Also commending the efforts of the Edo State Agency for the control of HIV/AIDS (EDOSACA), concerned NGOs and Implementing Partners for ensuring reduction in the disease prevalence rate in the state from 5.9 per cent in 1999 to 4.1 per cent in 2014, she assured them of the state government’s support to further reduce this rate.
Mrs Obaseki said that the distribution of the materials was to reaffirm the present administration’s support towards creating jobs and empowerment of people in the state irrespective of their political backgrounds.
She urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the equipment and ensure their durability.
Meanwhile, Deputy Governor of Edo state, Comrade Philip Shaibu, also assured the PLWA of the government’s care and support.
Comrade Shaibu noted that the present administration was committed to improving the welfare and wellbeing of people in the state.
He also revealed that the state government is willing to sustain the HIV/AIDS intervention programme should the donor agencies back out.
Meanwhile, the Project Manager of EDOSACA, Mrs Marietu Binkola, said that the HIV/AIDS intervention programme tagged (HPDP 11) would be winding up at the end of February this year calling on the state government to claim ownership of the programme.
She said that the World Bank in collaboration with the Edo government donated the items distributed.
She listed the items as 60 Sewing machines, 90 Grinding machines and 30 Hair dryers.
In addition, the different implementing partners and NGOs involve in prevention and treatment of the disease in the state commended the state government for donation of the income generating equipment.
They said that the equipment would go a long way in providing succour for the beneficiaries especially in this current era of economic recession.
Other dignitaries at the event included Wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Maryann Shaibu, Speaker Edo House of Assembly, Hon Justin Okonoboh and wife Mrs Betty Okunoboh and the APC Women Leader in the state, Dr Aisosa Amadasun.