By Akeem Abas
Ibadan – Mr Obatunde Oladapo, Executive Secretary, Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA), says response from the state government on HIV epidemic has been very impactful.
Oladapo spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Saturday on the sidelines of the 2018 World AIDS Day organised by OYSACA.
NAN reports that the 2018 World’s Aids Day was themed`Know Your Status”.
“OYSACA is one of the most committed in terms of HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria. It is one of the best funded in Nigeria.
“I make bold to say that most of our counterpart agencies across the country are not getting up to five percent of what the state government is providing for us in this state.
“The government has been very supportive to the agency and has contributed meaningfully to the campaign against the epidemics,” he said.
Oladapo said that the state government had been funding the agency without external funds, and commended Gov. Abiola Ajimobi and his wife, Florence, who is the Chairperson of OYSACA.
He said that the prevalence level of HIV in the state was 1.9 percent, adding that information from the on-going National AIDS Impact Indicator Survey (NAIIS) revealed an impactful campaign against the epidemic.
The OYSACA executive secretary attributed the successes recorded to the support from the state government and the agency’s constructive engagement of stakeholders in the campaign against the epidemic.
The agency has increased engagements of partners like Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Civil Society For HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), FHI360, Society for Family Health (SFH), among others.
“We trained media practitioners and equipped them with necessary information to disseminate to people on HIV/AIDS. We have also engaged the private sector, laboratories and people living with disabilities.
“We engaged the ministry of justice to address issues of discrimination and stigmatisation against people living with HIV,” he said.
Oladapo added that the agency supported NEPWHAN in the acquisition of its office which made them a sub-recipient of global funding.
He said that 50 NEPWHAN members were engaged as case managers to ensure people living with HIV had access to counselling and quality treatment services across the facilities in the state.
“Today, we have come a long way. In 2003, we had about 10,000 placed on treatment across the country which today is no fewer than 1.1 million.
“The theme of this year’s commemoration ‘Know Your Status’ is aimed at identifying those who are HIV positive, and placing them on treatment to attain Undetectable Viral Load.
“This would ensure that those infected do not infect other people with the virus. We can end AIDS with the support of our partners and the people,” the OYSACA scribe said.