Photo credit : UNAIDS
The 1st March is earmarked by the United Nations as Zero Discrimination day. It is a day set aside to speak out and raise awareness against all forms of discrimination. To celebrate the right of every individual to live their full and productive life with dignity regardless of gender, race, nationality, age, disability, colour, sexuality, religion, and language.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) , a leading organization that provides cutting edge treatment and advocacy services in 36 countries globally, believes that the #ZeroDiscriminationDay is a day that should be embraced by all ; especially as the world works toward achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ending AIDS.
“In the fight against HIV/AIDS ; ending stigma and discrimination plays a very crucial role in winning the fight and ending AIDS. Although some progress has been made in addressing stigma and discrimination, people living with HIV/AIDS still suffer as a result of stigma and discrimination in Africa and the world at large. Individuals are still denied access to healthcare services, jobs, schools, rejected by their families and treated unfairly because of their status” ( Dr. Penninah Iutung, AHF Africa Bureau Chief)
“Nigeria has an anti-discrimination law, which is a highly commendable development; however a law is not efficient; if it is not implemented. AIDS Healthcare Foundation Believes that government needs to work more closely with stakeholders to see that nationwide orientation is carried out with respect to educating citizens and law enforcement agencies on the use of the anti-discrimination law” (Dr. Adetayo Towolawi–,Country Program Manager , AHF Nigeria).
The world needs to be a more tolerant place and people need to work concertedly to ensure that stigma and discrimination is stamped out. In addition, more advocacy needs to be done in ensuring that favorable policies are enacted and implemented across the continent. AHF Africa advocates that every individual be treated first as humans with rights that need to be respected and upheld. The organization also joins the United Nations and the rest of the world in solidarity; in commemoration of Zero Discrimination Day