Children’s Villages The Gambia recently commemorated World Aids Day 2017, at a
ceremony held at the SOS National Office in Bakoteh.
The commemoration, funded by the European Union was under the theme “harnessing children’s right to health”.
“Children being the most vulnerable to the aids pandemic, SOS Children’s Villages The Gambia will continue to advocate for their rights and champion the cause of children in all development interventions,” said National Director of SOS Children Village, Mariatou Sallah.
World Aid Day has been commemorated every year on the 1st December since 1988.
The day, she added, was dedicated to raising awareness on the effects of the aids pandemic caused by the HIV infection, mourning those who have died from the attack of the disease, and reflect on the plight of orphans due to AIDS and harnessing mechanisms to support their well-being.
According to her, in 2015 world leaders signed the sustainable development goals, with the aim of achieving universal health coverage by 2030, which is currently the cardinal point of all health programmes.
She disclosed that the global theme for this year’s commemoration is “Right to Health” but as a child’s rights and child protection NGO operating in The Gambia, they decided to adopt a local theme “harnessing children’s right to health”.
Mrs Sallah added that this theme was apt in the sense that, global statistics from the world health organisation indicates that 36.7 million people are living with HIV and that continues to be a major global health issue; the pandemic having claimed more than 35 million lives so far.
She further disclosed that in 2016 alone, 1.0 million people died from HIV related causes globally.
SOS children’s villages The Gambia, she went on, was committed to promoting the rights of children through partnership.
“We continue to strengthen families through our ongoing family strengthening programmes at community level and work hand in hand with government and development partners such as the European Union to serve the children of The Gambia and the world at large,” she stated.
For his part, the programme coordinator of CRIASC Project, Pierre Jatta, underscored the significance of the forum.
Jatta pointed out that the SOS child right project came as a result of a felt need that it was necessary to create a great understanding on the three child rights instrument and also to make it available and accessible to all children and parents.
The programme coordinator of CRIASC Project added that they also build the capacities of regional stakeholders with a view to enabling them train parents, children, hence at the district level, they would be able to train local authorities such as the community children committee (CCC), Alkalos and district chiefs.
This, he said, would enable them make informed decisions at their level, and it would also enable them have understanding of the instrument.