Home News State Governments not doing enough to control Infectious Diseases – CEO

State Governments not doing enough to control Infectious Diseases – CEO

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By Becky John

Dr. Patrick Dakum, the Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), on Thursday said state governments were not doing enough to control infectious diseases. Dakum made the assertion in an interview with the newsmen on the sideline of the Institute’s Five-year Strategic Planning Meeting in Lagos. He said the Federal Government had shown appreciable level of commitment to address the menace of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, but that the same could not be said about the state governments.

Dakum said that the responsibility of fighting both communicable and non-communicable diseases in Nigeria should be shared among all stakeholders, especially those in the public sector.

“I need to commend the federal government for creating President’s Comprehensive Response Plan and increasing the funding for HIV.

“The plan is hinged on having about 40 per cent of the funding required which is about N140 billion coming from the states.

“We have seen some little contribution in terms of that with the federal government, but we cannot really quantify the funding coming from the states.

“If the federal government has done that, what is the contribution of the state governments on the same issue?’’, Dakum asked.

Dakum said apart from the funding gaps and weak commitment from some state actors, complacency had played a key part in the approach to HIV intervention in Nigeria. According to him, a lot of people now feel HIV is no longer a problem as it was perceived in the past.

He said that there were new infections and the burden of those that had not been placed on treatment or even diagnosed with the disease. Dakum said that the federal government had ordered for drugs that would cater for about 500 Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis patients and which were not sufficient.

He said that weak infrastructure and dearth of professionals in the health sector were also challenges plaguing the implementation of important health programmes.

“The other challenge, of course, is you cannot lay a programme on a weak infrastructure.

“It means, as we try to do programmes in HIV, TB, malaria and non-communicable diseases, one of the areas that we need to pay attention is to ensure that there is adequate infrastructure.

“The other problem embedded in infrastructure is the capacity development issue, given our population growth. To what extent have we grown the number of doctors and nurses?’’

He said Nigeria had not grown sufficient professionals in proportion to its population, adding that there was still a gap. Dakum said authorities in the health sector needed to correct the skewed distribution of professionals in favour of urban areas. He said that the data on the endemic areas that required a particular number of professionals were available, pointing out that the policies to drive some of the recommendations were absent.

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