BDAC to increase public outreach
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Brunei Darussalam AIDS Council (BDAC) is looking to increase its reach and target audience for its awareness programmes, said its president Iswandy Ahmad.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, he said that the council’s plans in his upcoming term would involve trying to reach more individuals of different walks of life regarding issues pertaining to HIV and AIDS.
“The AIDS council has a daunting task because HIV and AIDS has no cure. People are travelling more easily now so everyone is susceptible to all those existing risks that can lead to HIV transmission but I believe we have a very strong network here,” explained Iswandy.
“For this year alone we have been to more than 10 schools to raise awareness and there are plans to reach out to higher institutions. We also do have plans, though it has yet to be confirmed, to reach out to uniformed personnel because they travel and not only just them but everyone in the working sector,” he said.
The BDAC’s HIV Awareness Programme for Peers & Youth (HAPPY) has been conducted 80 times up until March this year and have reached 4000 young people said the council’s president.
“Alhamdulillah the campaign is working and we are getting more members. It is nice to see a continuation from the older generation and we also have younger members which are those not exceeding 30 years of age”.
According to a previous report, the Ministry of Health had recorded a decrease in the number of sexually transmitted infections (STI) cases in Brunei, especially among teenagers. From 2012 to November 2014, only 38 cases of STIs amongst teenagers were recorded where it dropped from the 83 cases recorded in 2009. The Mother and Child Health Service Clinic also recorded a decrease in teenage pregnancy to 264 cases in 2013 from 381 in 2009.
“Just because the rates are getting lower, it does not mean that we are to be complacent and think our job is done. It’s not. There are children becoming teenagers and teenagers becoming adults and they travel so it is important for us to reach out especially on matters relating to prevention,” said the BDAC president.
The BDAC votes and elects new executive committee members once every two years. Its annual general meeting took place yesterday at the Health Promotion Centre in Berakas. During its seventh General Meeting, Iswandy Ahmad was re-elected as president for the third consecutive term. He will continue as the council’s president for the term running 2015-2017.
The Brunei Times