JAAIDS honours journalists, media organizations, AIDS activists, at Red Ribbon Awards 2009

LAGOS – The challenge of responding to HIV and AIDS epidemic calls for innovative and effective ways of reaching the public with prevention and treatment information and appropriate knowledge skills to stop the virus.


In 2001, Journalists Against AIDS Nigeria, a media not-for-profit organization in collaboration with the National Action Committee on AIDS now an agency, UNAIDS and other local and International partners instituted the Red Ribbon Awards, an annual competition to identify honour and document outstanding media, community and individual responses to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. The awards hold in the week leading up to or from World AIDS Day (December 1).


The 2009 edition of the awards held at the All Seasons Plaza in Ikeja, Lagos on December 6th was indeed a night of fun, laughter and unlimited joy for all the winners and guests – stakeholders in the media and the national AIDS response.


The awards event as in the past was a moment to renew the commitment of stakeholders to the AIDS response, to ignite the hope and aspirations of all persons living with HIV to an eventful and positive life and to challenge to action government, media and community stakeholders to keep the promise of Universal Access to care and support, prevention and Treatment.


“My mother abandoned me when I tested positive to HIV at age 13, but in spite of all odds, I still believe that HIV is not the end of life; I will still become what I want to be and still achieve my dream of becoming a medical doctor.  It’s not about the award but the message you pass across to people out there despite HIV, there’s still hope”.


These were heart touching words from 19 year old Gloria Asuquo who emerged winner in the community category of the breaker of silence award for individual at this year’s Red Ribbon Awards.   
Gloria, who has been living with HIV for six years, was diagnosed positive for HIV at 13. Despite being despised and denied by her mother after she tested positive to HIV, she has continued to live her life with vigour and to inspire other persons living with HIV, both young and old. She has persistently confronted and challenged HIV/AIDS related Stigma and Discrimination.


In all, ten awards were given out in ten different categories at the ceremony. These are the Best Feature Report on HIV/AIDS (Print), the Best Feature Report on HIV/AIDS Radio, The Best Feature Report on HIV/AIDS Television, The Outstanding Informed Commentary, Best Local Language Report on HIV/AIDS (Broadcast), and the Best HIV/AIDS cartoon.


Others include the Breaker of Silence (organization) category and the Breaker of Silence (individual) category, Best Editorial on HIV/AIDS and the Special Recognition category (this goes to an individual or organization that has made outstanding contribution in the AIDS response.


Yomi Otaigbe winner of the Best Television Feature Category dedicated her award to people living with HIV and AIDS.  ‘This is to all Persons living with HIV, those who have had to cope with stigma. We hope a cure is found soon’ she said.


Director General of NACA, Prof John Idoko represented by Mr Sam Archibong, Head Corporate Communications, NACA commended the media for their increased effort in quality reporting on HIV/AIDS. He noted that there has been an increase in the number of reports done on HIV and AIDS by journalists.


Ms. Olayide Akanni, JAAIDS Executive Director, in her welcome remarks, said the contribution of all the winners is a challenge to everyone to commit to excellence in addressing the AIDS epidemic.  “Not one group of persons holds the ace. We are all in this together and each one of us must do our part to ensure an effective multi-sectoral response to AIDS” she said. 


The highly-attended and colourful event was compere by Corporate Communication Manager, Guinness Nigeria, Kingsley Uranta and Actress Jennifer Eliogu. The event was packaged and managed by leading events outfit entertainment network konzult. 


 by Ogechi Onuoha and Willie Workman-Okwori for Trendy Africa Nigeria @ 2010


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.