Njaboute Foundation in collaboration with Future in Our Hands engages the community of Sinchang Alagie Gai on HIV and AIDs.
Story by Fatou Sanyang
The Community of Sinchang Alagie Gai were engaged in HIV and AIDs by the Njaboute Foundation at Sinchang in the West Coast District over the weekend on the 6th of January 2024. Njaboute Foundation is a newly established foundation which was registered in 2021 with volunteers both in The Gambia and Sweden.
Njaboute is a non-profit foundation which focuses on health education and promotion as well as emphasis on Social Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC). The foundation aims to enhance the public’s appreciation of comprehensive sexuality education, including the act of female genital mutilation/Cutting (FGMC), the right to contraceptives and all other forms of sexual and reproductive health (SRH).
This year, the Njaboute Foundation chose to discuss HIV and AIDs because in Africa especially in The Gambia other sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) such as syphilis and gonorrhoea have overshadowed the existence of HIV and AIDs.
In addition, statistics show that about 27,000 people are living with HIV in The Gambia with a population of just 2.8 million people. This translates to approximately 0.96% of the population. However, the number of people going for testing remains low which means the numbers could be more.
Speaking at the event Matilda Tryggvesson a Medical intern at Kungälv Hospital in western Sweden explains the mode of transmission of HIV and AIDs.
“HIV is spread through unprotected sex, through blood contact and mother to child during pregnancy”. said Matilda.
Lisa Baideson, a Medical Practitioner from Sweden told spectators how to control and protect themselves from contracting HIV and AIDs.
According to Lisa Baideson using a condom during sex and cleaning Medical instruments when in contact with blood before re-using them is the best way to protect ourselves from contracting HIV and AIDS.
Gibril Sanneh, the Municipal AIDs Coordinator in The Gambia highlighted that HIV and AIDs are real and you can’t tell that a person has AIDs by looking at the individual therefore you can only know the status of an individual through an HIV test done in all hospitals free of charge.
According to Gibril Sanneh, there is no cure for HIV and AIDs but with early diagnosis and proper treatment, one can live with HIV and AIDs for years, because the medicine suppresses the viral load.
The engagement included a quiz where members of the Sinchang Alagie Gai community were gifted items such as baskets, bowls, washing hand basins, cooking pots, cups and laundry items for answering questions on an HIV and AIDs quiz.
According to the Medical facilitators with social support, testing and early treatment, one can live with HIV with a healthy and normal life. They also said that if HIV is treated and controlled it will not develop into AIDs, HIV does not kill but AIDs is deadly.