The media plays an important role in educating the public on HIV/AIDS.
This is one of the points raised in the National HIV, AIDS, and STI Policy 2017-2022 report obtained by the Samoa Observer.
According to the M.O.H. policy, the sustained public information and creation of awareness is paramount in the control of the epidemic.
“Therefore the role of the media is very important,” the report reads.
“The media including folk media, in collaboration with other relevant organizations shall play a leading role in educating the public on HIV/AIDS.”
“The media should be actively involved in investigating the practical challenges in the control of HIV and the responses by different sectors in the society, including the private sector.”
“Scientific publications regarding trends in epidemiological surveillance and research intervention activities to promote safe practices shall be disseminated in professional journals and through the mass media,” the report reads.
The Ministry of Health is also looking at establish ing processes, relationships, and agreements with media institutions in order to supply the technical information, funding and technical support required for public awareness and education.
“All organizations should develop accountability measures to ensure the accuracy and quality of circulated information of HIV, AIDS and STI’s.”
Aside from the media, the M.O.H. is also seeking the involvement of the Community.
“The community members, groups and village committees are a key to improving the coverage of all prevention efforts.”
The M.O.H. and all partner organizations in prevention, need to work with each village community’s demographic profiles need to be considered when designing outreach and involvement in prevention delivery.
“This includes assessment of the villages resources for implementing and sustaining a prevention programme; the mobility of the village population (i.e. how many people reside in the village regularly and long term?); income of individuals in the village; the employment status of people within the village and profession type and village access to health centres or community health workers.”
The initial consultations to determine village traditions and functions of committees should be the first step in prevention design.
Also the need to task the village committees with roles in prevention should take into consideration target populations and which committee is most appropriate for acting as liaison for that population.
Furthermore, the political leadership and good public relations should be employed to ensure the support of village community and religious leaders to minimize conflict with implementation.
According to M.O.H. when the time comes to target populations should be given ownership of prevention roles for programmes addressing their needs.