Sunday, June 9, 2013

HIV/AIDS: FG blames states for poor programmes


The Federal Government has expressed disappointment over the lackadaisical attitude of some state governors in implementing the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS programmes in their states.
The Director-General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Prof. John Idoko, said this in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja on Friday during a stakeholders’ meeting entitled: ‘Most at Risk Population Programme Implementation and Impact Evaluation’ organised by NACA.
The government also warned of a possible increase in the spread of HIV/AIDS because many young people do not have access to information and drugs.
Nigeria presently contributes two-thirds to the global HIV births with an estimated 70,000 children born with HIV annually.
According to Idoko, investigations from some states visited by NACA revealed that although the general hospitals were well-equipped, the ante-natal attendance by pregnant women was still very low.
He said, “In South Africa, out of the about three million people infected by HIV/AIDS, two million of them are on drugs. Every eye is on Nigeria. If we want to save lives, PMTCT is the largest hanging fruit to achieve it. If we address the PMTCT burden in Nigeria, we would have addressed the global burden placed on us.
“In some of the states, most of the general hospitals are well equipped. Yet, the ante-natal attendance has been very poor. In one of the hospitals, 600 women registered for ante-natal. But at the end of the day, only four eventually delivered there.
“We want to double the number of people currently on drugs from 500,000 to 1.2 million and provide treatment for 80,000 pregnant women to prevent mother-to-child transmission. In one particular state, six local government areas don’t have Prevention  of Mother-to-Child Transmission programme.”
The NACA DG also warned of a possible increase in the HIV/AIDS burden in Nigeria.

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