I had previously dealt with the above topic in the family setting in my article published on ThisDay Saturday 27th January, 2018, within the workplace environment in the second article published on ThisDay Saturday 20th October, 2018 and the pertinent issue of living a healthy lifestyle and the spread of HIV/AIDS in the third article published on ThisDay Saturday 23rd March, 2019.
In this fourth article in the series, i intend to discuss the role of public and private organizations in providing the needed financial and material assistance to support ongoing genuine efforts aimed at increasing public enlightenment on the ailment to further reduce the spread of the pandemic to the barest minimum. Such assistance is also necessary to enhance living standards and assuage the economic distress infected individuals and their families undergo as a result of the infection.
Actually, it is not as if nothing is being done by various individuals and organizations, i truly commend their efforts at different levels that have brought about significant decline in the negative impact of the infection on the individuals concerned.
I am only appealing for an upward review of these efforts to make them more incisive to further lessen the distress suffered by these infected individuals. The popular saying; who feels it knows it goes a long way to buttress my point. It is only when one gets close to these infected folks or their families that you can have a true picture of the extent of psychological and physical grief stigmatization causes to them. It is actually better imagined than experienced. For this reason, i am appealing that we all make just one extra effort to look beyound the line and see the reality of the anguish positive living persons undergo.
Inexcusable and ill informed attitude as stigmatization of infected persons which could be decisively eliminated in our collective interest through mass enlightenment remains an unfortunate occurrence that continues to cause preventable premature deaths.
It is only by proper mass citizen enlightenment one can actually understand the reality and willingly take the decision to eliminate stigmatization from his or her relationship with infected persons. When we think deeply about the different manner by which one can contract the ailment, it brings to mind that it could happen to anyone irrespective of his or her personality or lifestyle. If we consider that infants as well as the elderly are also not free of the infection, then we should all accept that an infected person is not a different creature and do not constitute a hazard to the community.
It is high time we focused on issues that will help to drastically reduce the spread and pains infected persons undergo to achieve the dream of a healthier society.
As a way forward to realize wider acceptance of infected persons and subsequently reduce the spread of the virus, the private and public sector operators have to do a total rethink of their well acknowledged economic support towards creating mass enlightenment and providing job opportunity to alleviate the discomfort infected persons presently experience. Their assistance will definitely contribute greatly to empower positive living persons, reduce new infections and on the long run improve our relationship with infected persons.
Unfortunate issues such as denying employment opportunity to a qualified applicant because he or she is positive living do not help matters at all. The plain truth remains that infected persons need employment to raise minimum fund needed to fund medical follow up required to lessen the virus growth in their body. Considering that proper feeding habit and reduced physical and mental stress are among the prescriptions infected individuals must comply with to remain healthy living.
Multi-nationals, Philanthropic individuals and NGOs in the Western World and some African countries understood early that financial and material donations to genuine organizations that cater for infected persons as well as providing funds for the purpose of mass enlightenment on the pandemic are necessary to limit the spread. Most of these countries have recorded significant reduction in the spread of the virus. Their timely contributions have aided to provide better living standards for their infected citizens.
As there is yet no available cure for the epidemic, the ideal option remains to limit the spread of the deadly virus through mass enlightenment and support to infected persons.
Mark Neboh writes from Lagos