Factors affecting fight against HIV/AIDS in Yobe exposed

Inadequate funds, lack of awareness and stigmatisation have been identified as some of the factors posing serInadequate funds, lack of awareness and stigmatisation have been identified as some of the factors posing serious threat to the fight against the scourge of HIV/AIDS in Yobe State.

This was disclosed by Alikime Dauda, the Executive Director of the Yobe State Agency for the Control of AIDS (YOSACA) in a exclusive interview with DAILY POST at an occasion marking the 2018 World AIDS Day in Damaturu on Saturday.

According to him, the challenges of fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS is not only peculiar to Yobe state alone, but it’s a national challenge.

“The fight against HIV/AIDS when it started was a donor driven. The greatest challenge we are having is the issue of funding as more than 75% of the funds are provided by the donor agencies and now donors’ funds are dwindling.

“YOSACA for instance was being funded by the World Bank project for about eight years, they called it HPDP I and HPDP II each for four years and also a 15 months extension was given that ended in February 2017 nationally. So now, none of the agencies in charge of HIV/AIDS control are being funded by any donor agencies. We are the mercy of state governments and various implementation partners,” he revealed.

The Executive Director also pointed out that stigmatization and discrimination against people living with AIDS are among other factors militating against the fight against the disease as that leads people to be sceptical about knowing their status, while saying about 66% of Nigerians do not know their HIV/AIDS status.

“In Yobe state, we brought testing of HIV to the doorsteps of everybody in the state. Because this year we expanded the testing centers from 38 to 178 at ward levels, hence we have started HIV/AIDS at every primary healthcare center across the state, but for people to go and test is becoming problem and the test is free of charge,” Dauda lamented.

He said the World AIDS Day is dedicated to creating awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV infection around the world.

“Just to commemorate the World AIDS Day 2018, we distributed sermons to about 24 mosques and churches across Yobe state to preach to people about stigmatization and discrimination so that people can come out and do a test to know their status because we want to end the scourge of the virus by 2030 and mother to child transmission by 2020.

“We are calling on people to come out en masse to know their status and they should cooperate with the team of surveyors going round the state doing health survey and that we have HIV testing facilities at almost every word in the state”, he stressed.

On the current prevalence rate of the disease in the country and the state in particular, Dauda said, “Nigeria’s prevalent rate is put at 3.2% and Yobe state prevalence rate is 1.5% in the last prevalence research conducted in 2014.

“Currently, we are about to recalibrate our status in terms HIV/AIDS intervention, not only prevalence, even in various interventions that were put in place and that is why the Nigerian AIDS Indicator Impact Survey and fortunately is ongoing in Yobe state. They are now in eight LGAs and hopefully they will cover the 17 LGAs.”

He noted that with the ongoing Health survey, soon Nigerian will come out with its real HIV/AIDS as well as Hepatitis ‘B’ and ‘C’ prevalence rates and that of various states.

Meanwhile, the Yobe state Coordinator of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Adamu Aliyu Kaduwa, has identified lack of job opportunities, stigmatization and discrimination as some of the challenges bedevilling members of the association in Yobe state.

“Among us there are orphans and vulnerable ones whose parents cannot afford to pay for their school fees and carter for their feeding and clothing.

“It is against this backdrop that, I am appealing to the state government, individuals, philanthropists and donor agencies to come to the rescue of these
less privileged by putting smiles unto their faces,” he appealed.

The 2018 edition of the World AIDS Day comes with a theme, “Know Your Status” and was first commemorated in 1988.

This was disclosed by Alikime Dauda, the Executive Director of the Yobe State Agency for the Control of AIDS (YOSACA) in a exclusive interview with DAILY POST at an occasion marking the 2018 World AIDS Day in Damaturu on Saturday.

According to him, the challenges of fighting the scourge of HIV/AIDS is not only peculiar to Yobe state alone, but it’s a national challenge.

“The fight against HIV/AIDS when it started was a donor driven. The greatest challenge we are having is the issue of funding as more than 75% of the funds are provided by the donor agencies and now donors’ funds are dwindling.

“YOSACA for instance was being funded by the World Bank project for about eight years, they called it HPDP I and HPDP II each for four years and also a 15 months extension was given that ended in February 2017 nationally. So now, none of the agencies in charge of HIV/AIDS control are being funded by any donor agencies. We are the mercy of state governments and various implementation partners,” he revealed.

The Executive Director also pointed out that stigmatization and discrimination against people living with AIDS are among other factors militating against the fight against the disease as that leads people to be sceptical about knowing their status, while saying about 66% of Nigerians do not know their HIV/AIDS status.

“In Yobe state, we brought testing of HIV to the doorsteps of everybody in the state. Because this year we expanded the testing centers from 38 to 178 at ward levels, hence we have started HIV/AIDS at every primary healthcare center across the state, but for people to go and test is becoming problem and the test is free of charge,” Dauda lamented.

He said the World AIDS Day is dedicated to creating awareness about the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of the HIV infection around the world.

“Just to commemorate the World AIDS Day 2018, we distributed sermons to about 24 mosques and churches across Yobe state to preach to people about stigmatization and discrimination so that people can come out and do a test to know their status because we want to end the scourge of the virus by 2030 and mother to child transmission by 2020.

“We are calling on people to come out en masse to know their status and they should cooperate with the team of surveyors going round the state doing health survey and that we have HIV testing facilities at almost every word in the state”, he stressed.

On the current prevalence rate of the disease in the country and the state in particular, Dauda said, “Nigeria’s prevalent rate is put at 3.2% and Yobe state prevalence rate is 1.5% in the last prevalence research conducted in 2014.

“Currently, we are about to recalibrate our status in terms HIV/AIDS intervention, not only prevalence, even in various interventions that were put in place and that is why the Nigerian AIDS Indicator Impact Survey and fortunately is ongoing in Yobe state. They are now in eight LGAs and hopefully they will cover the 17 LGAs.”

He noted that with the ongoing Health survey, soon Nigerian will come out with its real HIV/AIDS as well as Hepatitis ‘B’ and ‘C’ prevalence rates and that of various states.

Meanwhile, the Yobe state Coordinator of People Living with HIV/AIDS, Adamu Aliyu Kaduwa, has identified lack of job opportunities, stigmatization and discrimination as some of the challenges bedevilling members of the association in Yobe state.

“Among us there are orphans and vulnerable ones whose parents cannot afford to pay for their school fees and carter for their feeding and clothing.

“It is against this backdrop that, I am appealing to the state government, individuals, philanthropists and donor agencies to come to the rescue of these
less privileged by putting unto their faces,” he appealed.

The 2018 edition of the World AIDS Day comes with a theme, “Know Your Status” and was first commemorated in 1988.

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