The Chief Programme Officer, National Agency for the Control of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Alhaji Ade-Yusuf Alli, says there is reduction in the prevalence of the Human Immune Deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome in the country.
Also, the Consultant to NACA Project, John Al-Hassan, and the Project Manager and Secretary, Kwara State AIDS Control Agency, Mr. Johnson Oyeniyi, confirmed the drop in the spread of the disease.
According to them, the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has reduced from 15 per cent in many states in 2011 to 1.8 per cent, while its prevalence has dropped from 4.5 to 1.3 per cent in Kwara State.
They spoke when NACA officers from Abuja visited Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, on Monday.
Alli said the visit was to gather data in response to HIV/AIDS and to identify challenges that impede the implementation of AIDS reduction activities.
He said, “The situation of HIV/AIDS is improving. Referring back to when it started, the prevalence rate was very high. It was 15 per cent in some states. In Kwara State, it was 4.5 per cent but now it has reduced to 1.3 per cent. Nationwide it is 1.8 now. This shows that there is a great reduction. By 2030, hopefully it will be wiped out.”
Al-Hassan, who noted that Nigeria took a credit of $225m from the World Bank in 2010, explained that each state received $5m to implement the project.
He added that 70 per cent of the fund had been utilised in the implementation of the project, which started in 2011, while 30 per cent remained as of November 2015 when the project was supposed to have closed.
He, however, noted that the balance differed from state to state and the federal.
He also urged stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the HPDPs and the gains even after the support from donor agencies had stopped.
He added, “We had expected that we achieve three per cent prevalence rate on the average but now we have achieved 1.8 per cent. Kwara State is doing very well. We are pleased with its performance. We have not had any serious problems from the state but it is still important that we know where we are with the project and what we have achieved.
“The idea is that looking at the resources left, states are being encouraged to utilise the balance because if they don’t, the penalty is there. It is not that they are going to pay back un-utilised sum, but there will be penalty on un-utilised funds.”
Oyeniyi, who said the agency was working with stakeholders to further reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, commended the state government for its assistance in the initiative.
By: Success Nwogu, Ilorin
The Punch News
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