By BOSORINA ROBBY
ESTABLISHED social structures within all societies should now be used to campaign for the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
National AIDS Council acting director Wep Kanawi said much emphasis had been placed on the prevention methods like the use of condoms and the ABC concept.
“We need to now start changing our behaviours and our ways of thinking. If we go back to our societies, we will find that chiefs and head men are the people whose authority demanded obedience, so we need to use these people,” he said.
Speaking at a consultative workshop to finalise the next five-year national HIV strategic plan yesterday, Mr Kanawi said more focus would be placed on preventative measures because the virus was already in the rural areas, where the majority of Papua New Guineans reside.
“Because of this, this consultative workshop is calling on stakeholders, donor partners, NGOs, FBOs and others to design programmes which will empower local elders to ensure that the social structures can help prevent the spread of HIV.
“The time for building capacity for awareness and other work is gone. We need a different modus operandi, a programme that will really get to the people.
“At my level, I can allocate money to the provincial AIDS committees who can give a little money to the chiefs or head men of the villages to do small things like set up a small movie and talk to the villagers about the virus.
“Even after church, he can call a village meeting and offer some tea while telling them to watch their behaviours and to take care of themselves,” he said.
Mr Kanawi said all partners involved in the HIV/AIDS campaign in providing care, counselling, treatment and prevention could look at and ensure effective implementation.