From Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
The United States Government, in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) is partnering the Taraba State government to tackle the menace of HIV and AIDS as well as other epidemics in the state.
The Director General of NACA Alhaji Gambo Aliyu, who dis loses this in Jalingo said that while the world continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, attention can not be taken off the deadly HIV and AIDS which still has no cure or vaccine.
Gambo noted noted while the HIV and AIDS prevalence has continued to deplete, it was important for sustainable efforts to be put in place to ensure that the stigmatization is also gotten rid of and those in need of care are able to freely come forward to access it.
“Our presence here today marks the beginning of a new partnership in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Taraba specifically and Nigeria as a whole. With the structure you have already put on ground, we have confidence that we can fight HIV to the finish.
“We are here to work in your communities to identify those who need care and make sure that they have it. We can manage HIV so that those who already have the virus don’t get to transmit it to their loved ones and are able to live a life as normal as it could possibly get”.
The leader of the delegation and the United States Charge De Affair to Nigeria in person of Madam Catylyn Gibon in her remarks noted that “we see Taraba as a good place where we can work collaboratively to contain HIV and AIDS and control other epidemics in the next few years.
“We hope to identify the barriers for people coming in for treatment and we are counting on you to help us break those barriers. Taraba state is critical in the battle against HIV and AIDS. That is why we will be staying in the state for the next few days to have extensive interaction with various groups and ensure that all stakeholders are carried along in this new phase of the battle”.
The state governor Darius Ishaku who welcome the delegation to the state said that he was I pleasantly surprised by the visit and the knowledge that the US aid was going to be reactivated after several years of withdrawal.
He noted that through deliberate and concerted efforts in less than a decade, the prevalence rate in the state has dropped from 10.5 in 2012 to 2.9 as at 2018 while the level of stigmatization has also gone down drastically through high sensitization.
“I assure you that we would cooperate with you fully to make sure that in the next few years, we won’t be talking about HIV and AIDS again. I will personally get involved with this program and I will assure you that my medical team will be there fully.
The governor regretted that the state has continued to suffer from insecurity that has hindered the full optimization of the enormous potentials and resources that are begging to be tapped.
“Our only problem is insecurity. We have enough potentials in agriculture, tourism, mineral resources and all but insecurity has hindered our resolve and capacity to exploit these to make the state one of the most viable states in the country. We would however continue to push as best as we can to make sure that we tackle this menace head-on”.
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