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Law enforcers edified on how to enforce HIV law

Sep 16, 2015, 11:16 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Law enforcement agencies were schooled on the newly enacted HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act at a workshop held at the police headquarters in Banjul on Tuesday.

The event was organised by the UNAIDS office in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, National AIDS Secretariat, and ActionAid The Gambia.

Speaking on the occasion, Ousman Badjie, director of the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS), said that in March 2015, The Gambia National Assembly for the first time enacted a law on HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control.

“Enacting the law is one thing but having it implemented or enforced is another very important aspect and the police have a very important role to play when it comes to the enforcement hence the need for the training,” he said.

Sirra Horeja Ndow, UNAIDS country director, said the enactment of the act was a major achievement in the national response and in the attainment of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

She commended NAS for spearheading the development and enactment of the act.

Mrs Ndow said the forum was organised in recognition of the critical role of law enforcement agencies in the effective enforcement of the act.

“The success of the act will depend on the effective enforcement of it. Therefore, we count on law enforcement agencies to make it a reality,” she said.

The UNAIDS country director said the forum was held to provide opportunity for the police to familiarise themselves with the provisions of the act, scrutinise its content and critically highlight any issues to be addressed in the regulation.

She said it is a collective responsibility to ensure that various constituencies are informed about the HIV Prevention and Control Act and to be “highly knowledgeable” of its functions.

“UNAIDS shall not relent in its efforts and will continue to work closely with NAS, ActionAid, and law enforcement agencies, to ensure the attainment of their vision,” Mrs Ndow said.

Burama Mendy of ActionAid said the HIV act has come to complement the effort of the law enforcement agencies as partners in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Momodou Sowe, deputy Inspector General of Police, said the forum was an indication to the police force and the wider community that progress is being made with regard to bridging the gap between the police and members of the public.

He said the forum would go a long way in enhancing the capacity of participants as it would undoubtedly facilitate their understanding of the new act to be able to effectively enforce it.

Deputy IGP Sowe said the forum will play a crucial role towards the achievement of the overall goal of ensuring a secure and peaceful Gambia for all its inhabitants.