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Persons Living With Hiv, NACA Seek Improved Funding To Boost Care

When 27 years old Hamida Abudullahi discovered she was Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) positive immediately after her engagement to 33 year old Hamza Abudullahi. She thought that her world has crumbled, thinking that her newly found husband would throw her out of the four walls of their home located in Jalingo, the state capital of Taraba state. The reverse was however the case after her husband after undergoing several test that proved him negative of the epidemic. Rather than and turning his back on her as some men would do, Abdullahi preferred to draw her closer and showered her with abundance love, which as at the time of filing this report, has led to the production of two children that are as well HIV/AIDS negative. Narrating her order, Mrs. Abudullahi said immediately she was told of her HIV/AIDS status when she went for her Anti-Natal Care (ANC) at the Jalingo Specialist hospital, she almost collapsed but for the medical workers that gave her all the much needed helping hands to stay alive. According to her, “ I thought of killing myself before I get back home because I was afraid my husband would ridicule me before the public. But to my surprise he was not disturbed.” The husband whom according to her has been supportive “always encourage me to take my drugs, and he has never at anytime stigmatized me rather has continue to be there for me.” Madam Abdullahi who said her husband supportive roles has made them delivered two HIV/AIDS negative children, however beckoned at the governments at both states and federal to endeavour to take serious the issue of HIV/AIDS especially now that the intentional donors are withdrawing their services from the country. “On my own part” according to her “ I considered myself to be a luck woman because of the type of husband God blessed me with, because even when the drugs are hard to come by, he always go extra legitimate miles to source for the drug for me.” Presently pregnant, Mrs. Abudullahi, The Guardian found is presently accessing one of the facilities at the Specialist hospital is often accompanied by her husband.Speaking with our correspondent, Mr. Abdullahi, said on no account will he relegate his wife to the background “simply because she is positive and I am negative. Would she have abandoned me if I was the one that was pronounced positive.” Noting that he had been tested several times by this hospital “ and I have been found to be negative, I resolved to give this beautiful young women, I mean my wife all the supports that would make her a happy woman the Very day they said she is living with the epidemic.” Like his wife, Abudullahi worry is the continue shortage of Anti Retro Viral (ARV) drugs (for treatment of HIV) as most of the clients according to him don’t have access to the drugs as at when due. The media team of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) who made this discovery possible, called on the Federal Government to make more funds available for HIV/AIDS. Impressed by the decision of Mr. Abudullahi, the NACA Head of Cooperate and Media Communication, Mrs. Toyin Aderibigbe beckoned at government to “ budget more money for HIV” stressing that “The gains made in the HIV/AIDS response in the country can be consolidated and sustained with increasing domestic funding and support.” Calling on Pregnant women to always endeavour to patronize ANC facilities in the state, couples living with the epidemic, as advised by her should endeavour to borrow leaves from the sero-discordant couple who “in spite of the odds have been living happily.” According to her, “Nigerians should be aware that HIV is no longer a death sentence; if one takes the drugs and takes it well; one could live a complete normal life that is why early detection and access to services are paramount to eradication of HIV.” Committing additional funds into HIV/AIDS, she said would not only help in the reduction of HIV/AIDS, Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) but will as well help to address the plights of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC). Some OVC who as well spoke with this reporter on their predicaments felt sad that they have been relegated to the background as a result of shortage of drugs and stigmatization, which they have being confronting in the society. Most of the HIV/AIDS testing machines that are presently down, she believed would as well be give facelift if enough monies are injected into HIV/AIDS programmes.Even though the Federal Government was said to have released N8 billion for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Taraba and Abia states through the NACA/SURE-P HIV Implementation programme in 2015, the need to give the epidemic a “ human face” Aderibigbe believed can no longer be overemphasized The said funds as gathered by The Guardian were targeted at providing Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) treatment for about 50,000 eligible adults and children as well as PMCT care for 10,000 pregnant women in the two states. Some medical experts who support Aderibigbe, believe that for the Federal Government to fully take charge of the sponsoring of HIV/AIDS programme in the state and the country at large, the needful as suggested by them should as a matter of urgency be put in place. Source: The Guardian, April 6, 2017

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