Goma, 9 March, 2016 – The International Women’s Day was commemorated on Tuesday, 8 March 2016, a day set aside to honour the achievements of women everywhere in the world. This year, the day was commemorated under the theme, Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.
In a statement issued by MONUSCO prior to the commemoration, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Maman Sambo Sidikou, called for renewed efforts to encourage states to honour their commitment in regards to gender equality. He reaffirmed MONUSCO’s commitments to support the government and the people of the DRC to achieve gender equality goal in their country.
In the North Kivu Provincial capital, Goma, the day was full of activities and celebrations. Despite the heavy rains that started early in the town of Goma, MONUSCO managed to bring comfort, hope, and happiness to the female inmates of the Muzenze prison.
Among the Sections of MONUSCO that took part in the joint activities organized by Correction Section in collaboration with the Muzenze prison authorities, was the HIV/AIDS Section that helped many female inmates to know their HIV status through voluntary, confidential counselling and testing.
Scores of women who turned out for the event benefitted from this free medical care programme in the prisons. During the preparatory meeting with the medical staffs of the prison, the HIV/AIDS Counselor urged all female inmates to come out for HIV sensitization that culminated in counselling and testing.
Apart from holding this activity on this special day, the HIV/AIDS Section has been carrying out HIV awareness campaigns in the prisons of the DRC. In the last few weeks similar activities were held in the prisons of Beni, Masisi, and Muzenze where several hundreds of inmates have been sensitized on issues of HIV and AIDS.
It is important to note that the outreach campaign of the HIV/AIDS Section is aimed at fighting against new infection by making people to know their HIV status through counseling and testing. The campaign also involves fighting against stigma and discrimination, often suffered by people living with HIV.
By Joseph Tabung Banah