Sunday, August 16,2020
By our Taraba correspondent
Sad that Taraba state still ranked first among the states with the highest burden of HIV/AIDS in the north-east despite recent significant reduction of the virus from 10.5%to 2.9%, the need for the Coalition of Civil Society Organisations to join forces with the State Agency for the Control of Aids (TACA) to salvage the state from the virus, the agency believed can no longer be overemphasized.
The Director General of the agency, Dr. Garba Danjuma, who made the call while playing host to members of the coalition in the conference hall of the agency located at the premises of the state secretariat in Jalingo, said no fewer than 46,000 patients are presently undergoing HIV treatment in the state.
Believing that the reduction in the prevalence from 10.5% to 2.9% was achieved following the collaborative efforts of CSOs with the agency, achieving further reduction, he believed can still be actualize only if all hands would be on deck.
Urging the coalition to expand more energies in dispelling the myths and misconceptions surrounding Covid-19 in the state, the TACA boss who also doubles as the Infection Focal Person for the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) , said the 46,000 patients are among the “people we considered highly vulnerable.”
In protecting them from being infected by the coronavirus, the agency, as made known by Danjuma, have being interfacing with the Network of the persons living with the disease “so that they can protect themselves. “
More to the strategies so far put in place by the agency to debar HIV patients from been infected with Covid-19, the agency according to him, have as well tread extra legitimate miles to make sure that the patients are assessing their medications as at when due.
According to him “we have also developed a strategy where they (HIV patients) don’t miss their medications. We are giving them more than one month medications.”
Stressing that “in the past, we use to give them one month medications but because of the issue of the lockdown, we decided to give them medications that will last them at least three months so that they dont miss out as a result of the lockdown. “
Drumming the agency’s desire to “see the CSOs doing more in the areas of Covid-19 ” plans, as stated by him, are already in the pipeline to coopt members of the coalition into the agency’s board.
Led by it chairman, Joseph Gimba, the coalition who were in the agency to congratulate the Danjuma on his appointment as the DG of the agency, said the coalition have “worked tremendously to uplift the lives of the people of the state.
Stating that the coalition have worked tirelessly round the clocks to raise no fewer the N400 million which he said was used to implement various programmes across the nooks and crannies of the state, government as suggested by them, should as a matter of urgency fashion out plans to appointment them as board members of agencies and parastals.
Dejected that “there is no government institution in the state that have NGOs on their boards ” Gimba who observed that the NGOs are “only working to complement the government ” said “we are not working to take over the responsibilities of the government ” hence the need for the government to desist from being scared of coopting the NGOs into it boards.