From Tom Garba Yola
The Adamawa State government have been tasked to show more commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS in the state.
Director Resource Mobilization of the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Mrs Josephine Kalu, made the call during an advocacy visit to the state.
Kalu said the state needed to provide adequate funding for HIV/AIDS programme to ensure steady decline in the prevalence rate.
She noted that the released of only N25.9 million out N91 million budgeted for the agency was not good enough as the amount was solely for overhead and personnel.
“There was no approval for capital expenditure that is required to impact directly on the epidemic in the state,” Kalu lamented.
She also stressed the need for states to increase funding in view of the dwindling interventions by donor agencies, citing example of the World Bank intervention expected to end in November this year.
Kalu said government at all levels were expected to accord priority attention to the fight against the epidemic particularly in pragmatic areas like testing and counselling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and provision of anti-retroviral drugs.
Also speaking on challenges facing the state, Executive Secretary, Adamawa State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (ADSACA), Dr Stephen John, listed lack of counterpart funding, delay in signing of reviewed ADSACA bill by government, lack of functional project vehicles, inadequate numbers of train staff and inadequate HIV/AIDS service delivery points.
He also explained that over 25,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the state were eligible for treatment but only 14,000 were currently receiving treatment.
John however, listed some achievements of the agency particularly in upgrading health facilities, empowering people living with HIV/Aids, distribution of CD4 machines, HIV testing kits, and provision of recording and reporting materials, among others.
While in Adamawa, Kalu also paid advocacy visit to other stakeholders including Adamawa Commissioner for Health, Dr Fatima Atiku Abubakar; state Accountant General, Mrs Augustina Wadamihya; Commissioner for Local Government, Alhaji Mohammed Barkindo, Chairman House of Assembly Committee on Health, Mr Sani Shehu; District Head of Girei, Alhaji Ahmed Mustapha; and chairman of the state Planning Commission, Mr Lutu Ari.