United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids (UNAIDS) Country Director Dr. Tharcisse Berihuta has revealed that they have launched a global campaign under the theme ‘Protect the Goal aimed to create awareness on HIV/AIDS’.
“The new campaign called Protect the Goal will reduce new infections in Namibia. This campaign will take the opportunity of Games such as football and others to increase awareness on HIV/AIDS , Gender based violence and Sexual Reproductive health , distribution of condoms and make available HIV counseling and testing around the stadiums” said Berihuta.
He added that “In Namibia the campaign is targeting young people based on evidence that 53% of new infections are coming from people aged between 15-29 years. The campaign is using a simple message –Protect your body from HIV as players protect the goal during the games.”
According to Berihuta, the marketing campaign was launched by the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture Jerry Ekandjo for the coming 9th Women’s Confederation of African Football, (Caf) championship of Women.
“The tournament scheduled for the 11-25th of October 2014 will be hosted for the First time in Namibia and eight countries have qualified for the final competition are Algeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast , Ghana, Namibia , Nigeria , South Africa , Zambia” he said.
“The reception of the campaign is very positive particularly among young people e.g the members of the Namibian Football team of women are now ambassadors of the campaign and are providing information in their families and the communities” said Berihuta.
He further added that Condoms have been distributed and people are demanding HIV counseling and testing during the games, “The campaign will also address other issues such as Gender based violence and sexual reproductive issues.”
Protect the Goal will included all activities of the championships which will also be taken to rural areas of the country.
“Additionally, Protect the Goal messaging and activities will be incorporated into activities during the 2-week championship event” he added.
Barihuta highlighted Namibia key achievements and commended Namibia on its Political leadership and commitment on Protect Goal Campaign.
“Protect the Goal has already been well received in Namibia and with a 4-month lead up to the Championship, UNAIDS expects the message to reach several more regions across the country” he said adding that, “HIV is not an exhaustive topic particularly in Africa as we now have 60% of new infections around the world is coming from our continent and 70% of people dying from AIDS are African” he added.
Berihuta added that, “The protect Goal Campaign is another way to address the issue by integrating activities with the on-going process. Despite the impressive progress Namibia still has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS -14,3% at National level and in some regions such as Katima Mulilo we still have the highest prevalence of the world -35%.”