28 January 2018

Nigeria: Poor Funding Hindering Fight Against HIV/Aids in Gombe - Official

Poor funding is holding back the fight against HIV/AIDS in Gombe State, the state agency for the control of AIDS has lamented.

The Project Manager of the agency, Suraj Abdulkarim, stated this while speaking with journalists in Gombe on Sunday.

Mr. Abdulkarim said not much happened last year in the state in the fight against the disease as a result of the withdrawal by major donors from funding.

In spite of the agency being hamstrung by funding, he said the prevalence of HIV decreased in the state in 2017 from 3.4 to 3.2 percent.

Mr. Abdulkarim said the reduction would have been more if the agency had received adequate support, particularly in the area of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.

He therefore solicited increased funding by the state and local governments, so that the funds could be strategically channeled to funding the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of the disease.

"There is yet to be any significant funding to fill the gap created by the exit of the major donors and World Bank."

He said the donors and the World Bank were providing N100 million to the fight in the state, while there also used to be significant funding from domestic contributors.

"Last year major donors withdrew their support, while allocations from the federation account and domestic funding were not enough to bridge the gap, based on competing demands of the agency."

Mr. Abdulkarim said because of low funding, the agency was not able to make much progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state last year.

"Some of the effects of the low funding arising from withdrawals by major donors have resulted in lack of training for health workers, which has affected their productivity in providing services at the grassroots. It was one of the serious challenges the agency faced in the last one year."

He said it was the desire of the agency to bring down the prevalence rate in the state to zero level but lamented that this was not possible because the progress made from 2016 to 2017 was small.

He said the agency had planned to go down to the grassroots to make pregnant women go for HIV screening and place those who require it on treatment.

Mr. Abdulkarim said if the plan had been carried out, the drop in the prevalence rate would have been more than was recorded last year.


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