A non-governmental organisation, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), Enugu State Chapter has alerted the people and government of the state on the apparent increase of HIV infection in the state.
According to the organisation, more funds ought to be budgeted for HIV/AIDS related cases in the state to rid it of the scourge.
The Enugu State coordinator of CiSHAN, Mrs. B.C Nwibechukwu who disclosed this in an address when the organisation paid a working visit to the Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi lamented that infection occurs among the low risk heterosexual group which includes people who are in marital or cohabiting relationship.
“The state HIV prevalence shows that the rate of infection is on the increase and presently far above the national and zonal average,” Nwibechukwu laments.
Nwibechukwu pointed out that a 1986 survey report showed that Enugu State had high prevalence of above 6.5% which was the highest then in the country but with time, the rate came down but is now surprised that it has begun to rise again.
She explained the source of her fears. “Recent studies and surveys carried out reveal new infection trends coming from the hitherto low risk segment of the population that were not targeted for preventive services.”
“Mother-to-child transmission of HIV constitutes a huge public health concern globally and especially in resource-poor countries.”
The coordinator who said they used the visit to intimate the Speaker on the forthcoming launching of their Maiden Strategic Plan Document in November, expressed worry that if nothing was done fast, Enugu State might be in serious danger in future because some donor agencies would soon stop their financial intervention.
“Honourable Speaker sir, we are worried and concerned on the ability of the state to sustain the gains made in the areas of HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care, and support.
“Our worry is worsened by the continuous donor fatigue and also due to the fact that most donors would be closing shops towards the fall of 2015. What this portends is that if no proactive measure is taken to sustain the gains and improve on it, we may find ourselves in a state worse than we were some few years back.
To help reduce the rising rate of the pandemic, Nwibechukwu urged the Speaker to use his good offices to see that a bill is sponsored to dedicate funds in the Enugu State annual budget for CiSHAN for ownership and sustainability of HIV/AIDS response. (The Nation)