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Group urges Taraba Assembly to prioritise HIV/AIDS in budgetary allocation


WITH the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in Taraba State, the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), has called on the state House of Assembly to, as a matter of urgency, prioritise the disease in their budgetary allocation for the year 2015/2016.

It as well admonished the state government to as a matter of urgency complied with the global-based recommendation by allocating 15 per cent of the state budget to the health sector.

The call, which was made when the leadership of NEPWHAN in collaboration with NACA-SURE-P HIV/AIDS programme stormed the state to carry out a five-day massive awareness campaign on the disease, is aimed at reducing the spread of the disease to the barest minimum.

Led by its National Co-ordinator, Edward Ogenyi, the group expressed dismay at the way and manner the disease has been on the increase in the state.

According to him: “In Taraba State, the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 10.5 per cent which is far above the national average.

The total number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the state is estimated at 110,849.”

Noting that the number of those eligible for HIV treatment is 54,120, he felt sad that people currently on treatment of the disease are only “27,000.”

The five-day awareness campaign, which would be carried out in five local councils of the state, he said, would avail the group the opportunity to carry out HIV counselling and testing as it is “one of the most important steps towards ending AIDS epidemic.”

He said: “This is very essential because HIV counselling and testing is very important for everyone as it is an entry point towards accessing quality health care and social services.”

Stressing the need for the people to come out en-masse and know their HIV status, he urged all pregnant women to go for HIV test to save future generation.”

Ogenyi also said that the sum of N8 billion had been earmarked by the Federal Government to fight HIV/AIDS in both Abia and Taraba states.

In another development, a call has gone to the Taraba State government to intervene in the deteriorating condition of the Jalingo prison by relocating it to a more conducive environment.

The Deputy Controller, John Ali, who made this known in an interview with The Guardian, said that the present location of the prison has been taken over by development hence the need for immediate relocation of the prison to a “better and more conducive place within the state capital.”

He said the structure, which was erected 99 years ago, needs to be given a facelift as that would enable the management of the prison take the advantage of the ongoing rehabilitation and reformation programmes meant for inmates.

Stressing the readiness of the management to engage the inmate in useful ventures that would make them better citizens when out of the prison, the rehabilitation and reformation of the inmate, as opined by him, has become relevant.

Also speaking at the event, Johnson reiterated the readiness of the state branch of NEPWHAN not to relent in its efforts to continue reaching out to the nooks and crannies of the state to sensitise the people on HIV/AIDS.

He beckoned at the state government to cease in dragging its feet, as the issue of HIV/AIDS in the state is fast-becoming a global concern.

But on the part of the state government, Dr. Musa Obadiah said about N500 million had been put aside by the government to confront the disease headlong.

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