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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Wanted: Positive Ideas to tackle Problems like HIV-AIDS, Childhood Obesity

HIV-AIDS is really a problem of great concern in the country especially Cebu.

Records of the City Health Department’s (CHD) HIV/AIDS Detection Unit showed that in 2011 (as posted in Sunstar Cebu, January 31, 2012), there were 140 reported cases. About 8 out of 10 reported HIV/AIDS cases were contracted by guess what?    ----- through sharing of needles by injection drug users.

The remaining 21% was acquired through sexual intercourse, more between homosexuals than between heterosexuals. It is believed that this "dangerous" sexual practices are facilitated by social media networking sites where "meetups" are arranged.

It is my belief (I may be wrong) that HIV/AIDS patients are also becoming younger.

HIV is a problem that needs action right away as the number of cases in the country are projected to rise by 14,000 this year with Cebu City as one of the major areas of concern. With the knowledge that drug abuse and social media play a role in its transmission, education and perhaps social media can be made part of the strategy to combat this problem. Combat bad social media by good social media. Combat ignorance and unawareness by education.

What better way also to combat this problem than to empower the youth like college students to help solve it. Social media is something a lot of young people are good at. Harness their creativity and enthusiasm to counter misplaced curiosity and immaturity that may lead some of them to stray in the HIV trap.

Like HIV, Childhood Obesity is another problem that needs attention.

Many would love to pinch an obese child's cheeks. They think making children obese is making them "cute" and actually healthy. Fact is, children's health are endangered when they become obese. And it becomes difficult to convince people that it is not okay for someone to become obese even if he or she is still a child.

Unilab through its Unilab Ideas Positive program (a social marketing congress and competition) invites the country's college students (nationwide) to come up with ideas to improve the health and wellness of their communities with their social marketing ideas.

Health issues like HIV and Childhood Obesity are just examples of health problems in communities which may be addressed by these college students. Ideas to combat these problems are very much welcomed.

15 youth teams will eventually be selected in this contest that fosters teamwork among the youth. The teams are to be given P100,000 seed money for the implementation of their ideas to 15 chosen communities in the country to produce positive change.

The teams will be flown to Manila where they will undergo a 3-day boot camp training with free transportation, accommodation and meals to learn social marketing approaches from experts through case studies and workshops. This way also, the Bayanihan spirit is cultivated by Unilab among the youth participants.

Last year, the winners were from UP Diliman. They won for their Tuberculosis Detection and Prevention Program for a community in Quezon City which they are currently implementing.

Unlike the previous years, Unilab Ideas Positive now expands to include students from Visayas and Mindanao with more focus on outcomes in rewarding the winning teams.

Interested college students can join by teaming up and registering at Deadline for submission of entries is on April 16. 

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