Jalingo — Taraba State AIDS Control Agency (TACA) has disclosed that 2,193,745 children were orphaned across the country by the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) scourge in 2011.
Out of this figure, 17, 834 children were documented to have been orphaned by the deadly disease in the state in the year under review.
This is coming just as a community care specialist with Management Sciences for Health, Patrick Igbana, revealed that the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) supported by MSH aimed at ensuring that HIV infected mothers did not transmit the disease to their children at birth has recorded over 90 per cent success nationwide.
Addressing a press conference as part of activities to mark the 2012 World AIDS Day which has "Resourcing the N Response Towards Getting to Zero AIDS Relared Deaths," as its specific theme in Jalingo thursday, the Permanent Secretary of the TACA, Dr. Siman S. Ambita'a, said concerted efforts were being made by relevant stakeholders in the state to ensure the orphans are being taken care of and given access to qualitative education.
Part of the initiative made so far to guarantee the welfare of the victims, according to him, is the enrolment of all AIDS orphaned children in school and the establishment of a food bank at Ibi in Ibi Local Government Area of the state.
Commending the Implementing Partners in HIV/AIDS control and treatment for their immense contributions towards giving the orphaned children hope, Ambita'a specifically commended the traditional ruler of Ibi, Alhaji Abubakar Bawuru II for coordinating the programme in the local government and ensuring its success by providing school uniforms for all orphaned children enrolled in schools in the town.
Ambita'a revealed that though the AIDS related deaths in the state are not fully documented, about 217, 000 AIDS related deaths were recorded nationwide in 2011 with an estimated 133,000 persons living positive in the state.
Expressing displeasure over the low number of those currently on treatment for HIV/AIDS, he disclosed with regret that out of the 55,860 persons that are supposed to be on treatment in the state, only 25, 576 are currently on treatment, a situation he ascribed to lack of decentralisation of the treatment centres, lack of manpower, stigmatisation and discrimination as well as lack of equitable distribution of service providers.
Ambita'a, however, noted that to get to zero in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, some thematic programmes require resourcing among which is prevention and health promotion; care and support for orphans and vulnerable children and programme management which entails institutional strengthening, monitoring and evaluation.
Other areas, according to Ambita'a includes social protection (human rights) particularly legislations on stigmatisation and discrimination; enabling environment as regards Policy as well as human resources for HIV/AIDS and research.