Governor Idris Wada
By Matthew Onah
Kogi State has recorded increase in cases of HIV/AIDS in the last two years.
The rise has been attributed to lack of availability of funds for the state action committee on HIV/AIDS to engage in activities that would mitigate the spread of the disease in the state.
The state Programme Manager, Dr Ibrahim Musa, who said the state national prevalence rating for 2012 was 5.8 per cent, told THISDAY Wednesday that the activities of the state committee were hampered by inadequate funding.
He stated that about 248,000 people were living with the HIV/AIDS in the state out of which 172 573 persons were on the drug list of the agency.
Musa said there was a serious gap in the coverage of the state in the area of prevention, care and support as well as even distribution of drugs by the agency.
He noted that although the agency was basically sponsored by the World Bank with counterpart funding from the state government, the state component was not much forthcoming.
“The state component comes once in five years, and this is limiting our outreach,” Musa lamented, adding that most governments were gradually shifting their focus from the impact of the scourge.
“There is a slowdown in the span of attention being given to the prevention and treatment of the HIV/AIDS, by most governments, not only in the country but in the sub-Saharan region generally.
“The World Bank funding is not enough to ensure 70 per cent coverage, and the government needs to re-awaken its fight against the scourge. The pandemic has tremendous economic and social negative impacts on any country and is a serious issue,” he declared.
The programme manager, who said the agency was working on an action plan to be presented to the state governor, observed that the committee members had not been able to brief the governor in the last two years, a situation, he said was not too encouraging.