Is the Gombe State Government culpable in the death of 500 HIV patients?

Well, that is the impression the Gombe State Coordinator of Network for People Living with HIV/AIDs Nigeria (NEPWHAN) Absolom Habila is creating.

He said that the association lost about five hundred of its members in 2018 in Gombe State.

Absolom, who stated this in an interview with Bounce News on Thursday in Gombe, alleged that negligence on the part of the Gombe State government resulted in the deaths.

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He said, “This is because the state government has in the last three years refused to pay the counterpart fund for us to be able to access fund from some international donor”, he said.

The lack of funds has deprived the patients of access to hematology.

“It is such test that determines the type of prescription a patient needs, and it also tells if the prescribed medication is working or not”.

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The State Coordinator threatened that the Gombe State chapter of NEPWHAN may not be participating in the forthcoming World AIDS Day. 

“This is because we have been coming out and advocating for a better handling of our members and that has not happened all these years”.

“Our big panic now is that that some international partners who have been helping and proving support would soon be pulling out of the state, what will then be our faith”, he said.

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Responding on behalf the Government of Gombe State, the Project Manager Gombe State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (GomSACA), Dr. Suraj Abdulkarim debunked the death claim.

He said going by the available record, it showed there is a reduction in the number of new cases. The death rate dropped from six to seven thousand in 2006 to less than one hundred.

“The number of deaths should not be up to one hundred now and we are also working towards achieving zero death of people living HIV/AIDS in the state. The death is not always as result of failure of government, it also has to do with their in house problem,” he said.

On the issue of not caring for people living with the virus in the state, Dr. Suraj said the state government has always been supportive to NEPWHAN in the state.

“We have been working hand in hand with them to achieve a common goal”.

“The policy trust of establishment of this agency was to care for health and people living with this virus and we have been on track. 

“We have introduced and included people living with this virus to skill acquisition programs; many have been trained and given support to start up the business leaned but they end up selling the equipment given to them”.

“It is true that we have not been able to provide testing kits in the state since 2015; this is due to the economic situation of the state.

He revealed that only 40 percent of people living with the HIV/AIDS virus in the state know their status and that the 53 health facilities needed to have adequate coverage of the state is yet to be met as only 23 have been realized across the state. 

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