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Sierra Leone News: Ebola outbreak threatens HIV/AIDS prevention-Deputy Director

Abdul Rahman SesayThe Deputy Director of the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat (NAS) Abdul Rahman Sesay, recently disclosed that the outbreak of Ebola in the country has greatly threatened the prevention and control of the HIV virus, as most of their clients have stopped going for treatment.
Sesay made the disclosure at the Freetown City Council during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Sierra Leone and the National HIV/AIDS Commission for the establishment of HIV/AIDS programme within the university curriculum.
He explained that there are currently over 10,000 (Ten thousand) HIV/AIDS patients on treatment across the country but most of them have stopped going for drugs at the treatment centres, as a result of the Ebola panic.
The Deputy Director revealed that the Secretariat has decided to suspend the Global Fund Project that deals among others with sensitization and outreach programs that target youth across the country. This according to him is largely to comply with the government ban on public gathering.
He however stated that the Secretariat is developing a scale up plan to work with support groups across the country in order to ensure the drugs reach the HIVS/AIDS patients as its vision is to completely eradicate the spread of the virus in Sierra Leone in 2030.
The Memorandum of Understanding mandates the National HIV/AIDS Secretariat to  co-operate with the University of Sierra Leone in the course of providing services relating to HIV and AIDS within its work place.
This, according to the MOU can be achieved through the implementation of holistic, multi-disciplinary education and prevention training modules and activities on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) prevention for students of the University and their partners.
The objective also includes the establishment of partnership with campus student organizations and community organizations to increase access to reproductive health education, behavior risk- reduction education, counseling, and HIV and STD testing for all students and their partners.
The obligation of the University as stated in the MOU is to coordinate all the activities of the programme including designing and developing activities like HIV prevention and testing programmes for staff and students while the National HIV/AIDS Commission provide overall policy guidance, logistics and consumables required for successful implementation.
By Keifa M. Jaward
Monday August 18, 2014

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