From Ahmed Rufa’i Dutse

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, (NACA) has donated four ambulances to Jigawa State government in recognition of its commitment to HIV-Aids control.

The director general of the agency, Dr Gambo Aliyu Gumel presented the keys of the vehicles to the state governor, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar at the Government House, Dutse.
He said “The ambulances were acquired through the Global Health system in Geneva in recognition of the state government’s effort in controlling the spread of HIV in the state”.

The director general explained that the state government had introduced a policy of pre-marital HIV test for intending couples in the state saying that the agency would recommend similar policies for other states of the federation, as, it has helped in curtailing the spread of HIV in the state.

According to him, “We are here to thank the Jigawa State Government for the work it has done in controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country, as a result, it remains one of the least HIV prevalent states.

“It is one of the first states to institute pre-marital HIV test for potential couples before marriage and this is what we are advocating nationwide, that people should come forward and demand for HIV services. The day people start demanding for HIV services, that is the end of HIV in the country.”

Apart from the donation, the NACA boss disclosed that the agency had been working with the state government in the last couple of months to establish structures at the community level by engaging about 600 individuals cutting across five local government councils that have received direct payments from NACA through the Primary Health care system..

He also indicated that the agency had set aside the sum of N 130 million as it’s support for the state ministry of health to upgrade it’s health insurance scheme towards ensuring that the health insurance uptake at the community level is significantly improved in Jigawa.

The NACA boss, who spoke on the update of the HIV situation in the country disclosed that about 2 million persons were discovered to be carrying the virus in the country, out of which about 1.8 million carriers have been identified and placed on treatment, “and we are looking for the balance of 200,000 and that is why we’re everywhere in the country to ensure that people demand for HIV services to enable us identify the remaining 200,000.”

The DG added that, the rate of infection of HIV is dropping in the country as he expressed the optimistic that it would continue to drop, once affected victims were identified and placed on the appropriate treatment.

He said he is looking forward to a time when the spread of the HIV would be controlled in the country just like the way poliomyelitis was controlled.
The Governor in response described the donation of the vehicles as timely, saying it would go a long way in relieving the state government of a lot of burden.

“Jigawa has a very low IGR because of lack of high tax base. Therefore, the receipt of these four brand fully equipped vehicles is very significant to us as a government and people, because what you have supported us with today will now help us to divert the funds earmarked for the purpose into other social services.

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