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Leadership is key in the fight against HIV/AIDS - US ambassador

Apr 9, 2010, 5:16 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

The US Ambassador to The Gambia Barry Wells has said that leadership is key in the fight against the scourges of HIV/AIDS.

While noting that this cannot be truer than in the military, Ambassador Wells said actions and leadership of those in the positions of authority could drastically influence behavioural modification needed for a military to defend itself against this deadly disease.

US Ambassador was speaking recently at the end of a four-day leadership training on HIV/AIDS for 25 military officers at Coconut Residence in Kerr-Sering. He said leadership begins at the top level, adding that GAF continuous support of such a workshop, as well as other HIV/AIDS prevention activities shows their commitment in protecting military officers and their country.

Ambassador Wells said The Gambia has taken another important step towards combating a threat to militaries across the continent, noting that HIV/AIDS is a defense issue that inhibits forces' readiness and mobilisation. He said if the military is unable to effectively complete its objectives, its ability to adequately defend itself and its citizens, is diminished.

According to him, military officers' participation in the leadership training modules had shown that The Gambia is taking actions against a threat, which he said, when goes unchecked can eat away military forces around the world, leaving borders unprotected, security in jeopardy and the people of nations vulnerable. 

According to Ambassador Wells, military officers' leadership training was important since The Gambia plays an important role in world peace by supplying soldiers in peacekeeping missions across the globe.

"As leaders, Ambassador Wells continued, you have a great responsibility but the most important is the protection of the soldiers under your care, show them by example, speak to them and teach them about HIV/AIDS," he stated.

He then called on the GAF hierarchy to arm their soldiers with information and the best way of defending themselves and the people of The Gambia.

"At the end, it will be your words they hear that will have a lasting impact on the health and well-being of the people of The Gambia and the world at large," he concluded.