By Najib Sani
No fewer than 41.5 million persons around the world have died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) within this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has disclosed.
A Representative of WHO, Akeem Bursali, made the disclosure yesterday during the commemoration of 2017 World AIDS Day with theme “Right to Health-making it Happen,” organised by wife of the Bauchi state Governor in collaboration with the Bauchi state Agency for the control of HIV/AIDs, Tuberculosis/Leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA) in Misua local government area of the state.
Bursali said an estimated 36.7 million persons “are currently living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues recorded in history,” adding that that the death rate from AIDS epidemic “has decreased since it peaked in 2005, with one million deaths in 2016 compared to 1.9 million deaths in 2005.”
He said: “We have achieved much in the past 30 years. Today, 21 million persons in the world are receiving antiretroviral therapy that is enabling them to live full and productive lives.
“If we are to eliminate AIDS and viral hepatitis as public health threats, health services should be adapted to reach and meet the needs of those populations most at risk and this includes implementing a zero tolerance policy on stigma and discrimination in all health services.”
In her address, wife of the governor and founder of Bauchi Sustainable Women Economic Empowerment Peace (B-SWEEP), Hajiya Hadiza Abubakar, said the state government “will improve access to HIV services and other infectious diseases in such a way that each local government will have at least one treatment centre.”
She said the state government would collaborate with relevant partners to ensure that the viral load machine “is made available in the state in order to chieve the United Nations Global Vision aimed at ending new HIV infections by 2030.
Earlier, the wife of the Governor paid homage to the Emir of Misau, Ahmed Suleiman, where she donated 10 bags of rice, 15 bags of sugar, 10 cartons of spaghetti and 10 bags of assorted grains to officials of Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (NEPWHAN).