By Asmau Ahmad
The Sokoto State Government on Sunday said it had disbursed over N80 million to 16 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in 2014 toward curbing the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Mr Nasiru Yahayya, the Executive Secretary of the state’s Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Leprosy (SOSACAT), made the disclosure in Illela, headquarters of Illela Local Government Area.
Yahayya spoke at the launch of a four-day Free Medical Outreach Programme on HIV/AIDS organised by the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), in collaboration with the Subsidy Re-Investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P). He said “the NGOs are being used to sensitise the people in the 23 local government areas of the state on the need for them to go for HIV testing and counselling.
“Efforts are also being intensified by the agency and the NGOs to stop stigmatization and discrimination on people living with HIV/AIDs.’’
According to him, the sustained efforts are paying off as the scourge is on the downward trend across the state.
The Director-General of NACA, Prof. John Idoko, said the Federal Government was fully committed to the health needs of Nigerians.
Idoko, who was represented by Dr Ibrahim Mamadu, said 10,000 persons were being targeted during the fou-day free programme in the local government.
The NACA boss explained that the beneficiaries of the programme would undergo free HIV test and counselling, as well as free hepatitis, blood sugar, blood pressure and malaria tests, among others.
“All beneficiaries will be given free medications, while referrals will be made to the Specialist Hospital, Sokoto, where necessary.
“Under the programme which began in December 2014, no fewer than 75 million Nigerians will know their HIV status.’’
The Chairman of Illela Local Government, Alhaji Bello Magaji, represented by the Deputy Director of Health in the area, Alhaji Abubakar Akoda, commended NACA and SURE-P for choosing the local government as the only one to benefit from the gesture in the whole of the state. The District Head of Illela, Alhaji Tukur Abdulrahman, represented by Alhaji Sahabi Isa, promised to mobilise all the people of the area to partake in the programme.