BY EDWIN MUSONI
The First Lady Mrs Jeannette Kagame yesterday launched the third phase campaign in the fight against HIV/Aids and child abuse.
She called on parents to discuss with their children the spread of the pandemic and how best to protect themselves against it.
The third phase campaign focuses on parents discussing sexually-related issues with children, and follows the first and second phase dubbed: ‘Treat every child as your own’; and ‘Adults infecting children speak out’, respectively.
All the three phases are under the umbrella of Protection and Care for Families against HIV/Aids (PACFA) that is headed by the First Lady.
Speaking at the launch, Mrs Kagame said that parenting is a condition for every parent and that it is continuous. “There is no end of parenting; children also need parental guidance throughout their entire life.
“Our children know much about sexually related issues because they are exposed to modern technology, but they also know less about how they can protect themselves from its dangers,” she said.
The third phase is the last one in the First Lady’s two-year campaign which is derived from the five-year Strategic Plan of the Organisation of African First Ladies’ against HIV/Aids.
In her speech, Mrs Kagame reminded parents to always consider the mother-to-child bond saying, “Try to minimise poor parenting regrets; make sure you treat your child as your best friend.
“The life of our children is like water in a glass; if poured you can’t get it back. We all need to join together and fight the spread of HIV/Aids by talking to our children, teaching them what is wrong and how it can impact negatively on their lives,” she said.
Mrs Kagame’s campaign is implemented by the use of mass media; the campaign calls for adult recognition and responsibility of protecting children’s rights and promoting child security.
During the launch, the minister of Gender and Family Planning, Valerie Nyirahabineza said that the government has a long term policy of sustainable fight against child abuse.
Nyirahabineza also said that in some areas in the country, the policy has already been implemented and that orphans are always held with prime regard. Deputy Commissioner General of Police Mary Gahonzire called for help for street children, saying; “We have a second generation on the streets; street children have given birth to other children who are also on the streets now and are giving birth at a tender age. We need to protect these children.”