By Evelyn Omotoye
Ondo State Government has declared its readiness to partner with relevant Federal Government agencies in curbing the dreaded HIV virus to meet UNAIDS goals by year 2030 and as well continue to give support to the People Living with HIV/ AIDS in the State
This is just as the Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS, (NACA) Dr. Sani Aliyu has disclosed that over 3.2m persons are living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria out of which 81,481 persons are in Ondo State.
Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde declared this when he played host to the team of Nigeria Aids Indicator and Impact Survey NAIIS advocacy who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
He described the survey as the best of its kind across the country, saying that the survey is timely and its essence cannot be overemphasized.
The Secretary to the government said the present government had released the sum of 5million Naira for the purchase of drugs and other basic needs in other to keep HIV patients healthy and discourage women among them from engaging in prostitution to eke out a living.
women among them from engaging in prostitution to eke out a living.
He assured the NACA team of Ondo State government’s support and promised to provide adequate security for them in other to make the excercise a huge success in the state
Abegunde who reiterated the Akeredolu-led administration’s commitment to the delivery of accessible and quality healthcare services to its peoples assured the agency of the support of the state government in achieving the set goals in this regard.
Earlier, the DG of NACA, Sani Aliyu represented by the Director Resource Mobilisation, Mrs. Josephine Kalu stated that the NAIIS became imperative in a view to make the country free of the deadly disease by year 2030 according to the vision of UN AIDS.
He added that the survey is aimed at providing a more reliable data for proper planing strategies development on the HIV and Hepatitis B and C in the country.
According to him:”Ondo State occupies 16th position in the country of the infection with 1.6 percent equivalent to 81,481 persons living with HIV/AIDs out of which only 10,000 persons are undergoing treatment.
“NAIIS is the largest HIV population based survey which is important to get a more reliable data for adequate planning and development of strategies for the proper and effective control of the deadly diseases.
The survey is supported by the US government global funds as we look forward to end the diseases by year 2030.”, he added.
The DG commended the Ondo State government for the recent release of N5m for nutrients and supplements for people living with HIV/AIDS in the state, saying the federal government is doing a lot to ensure sustainability of the project away from donor funding.
“Recently a resolution was passed that 0.5 to one percent of the federal allocation should be earmarked for the sustainability of diseases with provision from domestic resource as well.”,he added.
In his response, the Commissioner, for Health, Dr. Wahab Adegbenro described the survey as timely.
Adegbenro who reiterated the Akeredolu led administration’s commitment to the delivery of accessible and quality healthcare services to its people assured the agency of the support of the state government in achieving the set goals in this regards.
Meanwhile, the NAIIS team also paid a courtesy call on the Osemawe of Ondo Kingdom, HRM Oba Dr. Victor, Kiladejo in his palace to intimate him of the programme and seeking his cooperation and that of his subjects for a smooth running of the survey in his domain.
Speaking, the Southwest Coordinator for mobilisation of NAIIS project, Dr. Mrs Olubunmi Ayinde informed that the survey which involves household pre and post-testing counselling, testing, treatment, referral and tracking, is free, voluntary and confidential.
“The selected households would be counselled and tested for HIV and Hepatitis B and C. This survey will also avail the people the opportunity to know their status as well as the government to know the quality of healthcare services to be provided for our people”, she said.
While noting that the selection of enumeration areas and participating households were done by the National Population Commission, she pointed out that blood samples would be collected from people not for spiritual or political reasons but solely for the research purposes and hence encourages the people to participate in the exercise.
Receiving the team, Oba Kiladejo assured the team of his support for the success of the survey saying the statistics on the dreaded disease is alarming and worrisome and hence demand more attention and effort to curb its spread.
He however implored the team to provide adequate counseling, treatment, care and support for the people tested positive as well as treat their cases in utmost confidentiality so as to protect them from stigmatisation or rejection.