The National Agency for the Control of Aids on Tuesday expressed concern over the high rates of HIV and AIDS in Kaduna State.

Its Director-General, Prof. John Idoko, raised the alarm when he paid a courtesy visit to the state’s Deputy Governor, Amb. Nuhu Bajoga.

He blamed the high rates on cultural background, insufficient funds and inadequate equipment to challenge the scourge.

Idoko noted that the country had been able to stabilise the population of persons living with HIV and AIDS to 4 per cent, compared to 5.8 per cent in 2001.

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“Even though the prevalence in the country is about 4 per cent, the number of states including Kaduna State still has prevalence above 4 per cent.

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“Kaduna State has 5.1 per cent on the average and when we look round the state, some of the areas, communities in Southern Kaduna have doubled it.

“For example in Kafanchan in 2010, the prevalence was 11.4 per cent and in Kwoi it was 8.7per cent. That’s far above the national average.’’

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Idoko lamented the poor attitude of infected persons to receiving antiretroviral drugs, stressing the need for persons living with the affliction to ensure they accessed free medical treatment at the various health care centres to improve their health and the health status of the country.

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“ Over 300,000 people who have HIV, out of which over 70,000 require drugs urgently, only half of these are on drugs. And the drugs are a very critical thing,’’ he cried.

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He said the antiretroviral drugs would improve the lifespan of the infected persons with over 40 years.

According to him, the agency will transfer ownership of the HIV response from the partners to the states by establishing states management teams nationwide to be chaired by the Commissioners for Health.

He said the team would be sub-divided into three committees – monitoring and evaluation, procurement as well as another saddled with the responsibility of saving lives of infected persons and awareness.

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He said the visit was to intimate the state government about the activities of the HIV team as well as to secure endorsement and approval for all the ongoing projects relating to HIV and AIDS in the Kaduna State.

Responding, Amb. Bajoga attributed the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the southern part of the state to social interaction and traditional cultures inherent in the areas.

Bajoga assured the agency and all the developing partners that the state government was resolute about reducing the HIV and AIDS population to zero level.



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