The Federal Government has been urged to take action on the rising number of individuals living with the Human Immune Virus, HIV, and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS in Nigeria’s oil-rich region.
The call was made by the Director-General of an advocacy health group under the auspices of National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu, at a four-day HIV Media Advocacy and Social Behaviour Change Communication, SBCC, Skills Building Workshop, in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Mr Aliyu, who was represented by NACA’s Director of Policy Planning and Stakeholders Coordination, Eno Essien, said that People Living With HIV/AIDS, PLWHIV, were solely supported by donor-agencies.
He said that increased participation by governments was desirable to ensure that services rendered by implementing partners would be sustained when the donor-partners would pull out.
Mr Aliyu urged states in the South-South to take advantage of support by implementing partners to manage infected people.
He said that PLWHIV needed support and care, adding that the federal and state governments should critically look into their plight and sustain them.
He added that in Bayelsa and some other states in the zone, the law establishing the State Agency for Control of Aids, SACA, required amendment to allow for proper operations.
The Wife of Bayelsa Governor, Dr Gloria Diri, declared the workshop open on behalf of her husband, Governor Douye Diri.
She commended NACA for bringing the workshop to Bayelsa and gave the assurance that the state would continue to provide a conducive environment for manpower development.
The South-South Coordinator of NACA, Dr Uduak Daniel, admitted that the six states in the geo-political zone had high HIV prevalence.
The development, she said, necessitated collaboration with the media through setting up of advocacy platforms as a strategy in the fight against the disease.
Ms Daniel said that on assumption of office, she embarked on assessment of offices of SACA and discovered challenges.
She listed the challenges to include poor funding.