Somaliland: Journalists Receive HIV/Aids Reporting Skills


 By: Hasan Hussein

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Poor reporting skills are directly linked to prevailing discrimination and stigmatization of people living with HIV/Aids-PLWAs in the country.

This was informed by the Executive director of the Somaliland National Aids Commission-SOLNAC Mr. Mohamed Dahir Khaire during the conclusion of a three day HIV/Aids Media Training Workshop held at Imperial Hotel from 19th to 21st February.

The workshop which pooled its participants from various media houses was implemented by SOLNAC and UNDP had the sole objective of imparting reporters with apt language of reporting on issues related to HIV/Aids thus negate the ongoing trend of using inappropriate words local journalists utilize while reporting on the infection.

According to the SOLNAC chief who hoped that journalists shall utilize accrued skills, the media training workshop came about as a result of continued complaints by PLWAs on the negative perception imposed on the public by media reports pertaining to HIV/Aids.

Informing that PLWAs are suffering discrimination and stigmatization by the community through lack of proper awareness and knowledge on how one gets or can get infected with the HIV virus Mr. Khaire urged participants to utilize their media houses in reverting this trend thus alleviate community imposed The negative perception imposed by media outlets hardships from the HIV Infected and affected.

On the majority participation of the workshop by women reporters the SOLNAC Executive director said, “Considering that most PLWAs in the country are women and in view of the large number of women journalists participating in the training, a new reporting begin shall ensue.

According to the Mr. Mohamed Dahir Khaire the lack of sufficient remunerations , poor working tools and minimal training for journalists has not only impacted negatively on HIV/Aids but other areas like Mother & Child health, Sanitation, environment , Education and other community issues as the reporters are forced to concentrate on political issues that they are paid for reporting on.

During the training facilitated by Dr. Abdirahman Abdilahi “Abdirahman Gelle”  and Mr. Musinguzi Edward participants were imparted with knowledge on all facets of  HIV/Aids as well as appropriate terms and language of reporting on the virus and its victims.

The beneficiary journalists who pledged to utilize their new skills thus provide the public with relevant HIV/Aids information and facts also promised to uses their respective media houses as a conduit of reducing and or ending prevailing discrimination of people living with Aids.

Meanwhile a PLWA has informed that Poverty and discrimination pushes PLWAs to engage in acts that exacerbate new infections nationwide.

While justifying her argument MS Dahir (not real name) a mother of two and a member of a local Community based organization fronted by PLWAs in Hargeisa told Somalilandsun that when she was diagnosed as HIV positive three years ago she was registered as PLWA #468 while a recent visit to the hospital revealed that current registration at the Hargeisa group hospital shows over 5000 infected.

While terming proper welfare and cessation of discrimination as the only remedy against new HIV infections Ms. Hodan Ibrahim another infected single mother of six said “I’m afraid that HIV/AIDS will affect every household in the country if our officials don’t act now”

According to data released by SOLNAC during the World Aids day commemoration on 1st December 2012 the country registers 58 new cases of HIV infections monthly.