World AIDS Day: Why People Living With HIV/AIDS In Gombe Are Grieving
Saturday was the day the world remembers the people afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
But the group of people living with the virus in Gombe are grieving.
The group, under the network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) has expressed with grief, what it called constant violation of the rights of its member at homes, work and even in public places in Gombe state.
According to the Gombe State Coordinator of the network, Absolom Habila, who led a peaceful protest at a gathering to mark 2018 World Aids Day in Gombe the State capital, the abuse of their rights has gone beyond members of the public and extended to the State Government who has refused to fund HIV/AIDS project in the state.
“No particular government policy is targeted at helping us or reducing our burden. We are not lesser citizens, we have equal rights as every other citizen,” the Coordinator stated in a document he presented to the state commissioner for health, Dr. Ishaya Kenedy, at venue of the event.
Also speaking at the event tagged: “Know Your Status” at Gombe Jewel Hall, the Project Manager Gombe State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (GomSACA), Dr. Suraj Abdulkarim, said the event was not to celebrate rather to commensurate with the over 60,000 people living HIV/AIDS and those that have been lost to the virus in the state.
He added that the event was also to reflect and look at the success, challenges and possible ways of ending the menace of HIV in Gombe state.
Commenting on the protest and issues raised by NEPWHAN the Health Commissioner said, eight out of the ten issues the network has raised have already been addressed by the State Government.
“We have a law on stigma and discrimination, any of their member who feels he is being stigmatized or discriminated should go to court and seek for redress,” he said.
On the issue of funding war against HIV/AIDS that was raised by the network, the GomSACA Project Manager noted that lack of funding has always been the foremost challenge of the agency.
He toldBounce News in a separate interview that “not even one percent of the one hundred and twenty million naira allocated for project in the 2018 budget have been released”.
“We sincerely want to thank his Excellency for giving the project a budget line, but the release is an issue of concern”. Dr. Suraj stated.
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