By Bassey Bassey
The Akwa Ibom Agency for the Control of AIDS (AK-SACA), says it is training 85 orphans and vulnerable children on the acquisition of skills for sustainable living.
The AK-SACA Programme Manager, Dr Nkereuwem Etuk, made the disclosure in Uyo on Tuesday at the meeting of the state working technical group on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS (PMTCT).
Etuk said the training was in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, adding that the beneficiaries were trained on skills such as hairdressing, fashion design and catering.
He said that the training was supported by the World Bank and the trainees would be equipped with starter packs at the end of the training in February.
Etuk said that AK-SACA had formed eight youth-friendly clubs in collaboration with the state Ministry of Youth and Sport on how to stay safe from HIV and AIDS infection.
He explained that the collaboration with the ministry was targeted at the out of school youths.
Etuk said that similar partnership with the state Ministry of Education was directed at youths and young people in schools.
He said that the agency was also working in collaboration with some civil society organisations on the uptake of ante natal services by pregnant women in some local government areas.
The HIV and AIDS Programme Manager, state Ministry of Health, Dr Ibia Ibia, called for effective engagement of the clergymen and opinion leaders in the prevention of HIV and AIDS infection in the state.
Ibia noted that the clergymen, especially in the rural areas have great influence on their members and collaboration with them could help in behaviour change.
He said that the 2014 national survey on HIV and AIDS prevalence in Nigeria had placed the state at 10.8 per cent.
He said the state would conduct its own AIDS indicator survey soon and pleaded with all stakeholders to collaborate to scaledown the prevalence rate of the scourge.