The National, Thursday 13th September, 2012
By PISAI GUMAR
GREATER HIV/AIDS awareness is needed to educate coastal pipeline and impacted communities along the Basamuk nickel mine processing plant in Rai-coast, Madang, Ken Mulou says.
“The impact of the Ramu NiCo project, coupled with the influx of people and movement positions most communities in a risky situation requires greater awareness to educate people,” Mulou, the landowner company liaison officer, said.
He said the situation allowed the landowner company, Wassmatau Ltd, to be involved in helping communities in the area to fight against HIV/AIDS through sporting and other community activities.
Mulou said the company was prepared to help and called for community support, a change of mentality and behaviour so people could take ownership and fight against the epidemic.
Mulou said most of the Rai-coast population had yet to undergo blood tests to verify their HIV status.
He said there was a need for more voluntary counselling and testing facilities.
“Responsibility to take care of individual and family lives rests on ourselves and the landowner company is prepared to strengthen and amplify community initiatives with materials to help use available HIV/AIDS programmes to ensure people are educated with cross-cutting issues,” Mulou said.
He was speaking at a pre-independence sports tournament hosted by the Buged Educational Troupe (BET), a community-based organisation driving HIV/AIDS behavioural change during an awareness campaign at Lalok village on Tuesday.
BET organised soccer, volleyball and basketball competition, which attracted teams from as far Maiwara, in the North Coast, and the Amebenob council areas.
BET chairman Johannes Pariwe and tournament coordinator Lazarus Pomo urged the youths to play and celebrate safe sex during Independence.
“As leaders of tomorrow, our future depends on the decisions and attitudes we make today. We need to be mindful of foreign influence and be rational rather than emotional in our decisions,” Pariwe said.
“Sports unite, attract and create opportunities to prosper. It attracts sexual desire and emotions that we need to control and play it safe because HIV/AIDS is a human issue and human life is a crucial gift and precious.”