Failure to double investment in adolescents’ HIV will lead to more deaths – UNICEF warns
10,000 girls, 8,800 boys age 10-19 living with HIV in Kaduna – Latest statistics revealed.
(Participants at the review meeting as detailed in this report)
United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has warned that, if Nigerian government at all levels, fail to double up their investment in HIV/AIDS as it affects adolescents and young persons, the country is not unlikely to record more deaths among this age group.
As we speak, millions of women, children and adolescents are still not being reached in HIV/AIDS campaigns while one adolescent girl is infected with the virus in every three minutes which is quite worrisome to the stakeholders including UNICEF, National Orientation Agency (NOA) Kaduna State government and the Media.
In Kaduna State alone for example, the latest statistics released by UNICEF (January – June) showed that, 10,000 girls and 8,800 boys aged between 10-19 confirmed to be living with HIV/AIDS while several others unknowingly living with the virus.
But what can we unanimously do put this high prevalent rate on check has remain a great concern to the stakeholders in Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria.
It was against this background that, NOA in collaboration with UNICEF, Kaduna office organised a one-day media executives, reporters and producers meeting on Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and adolescents and young persons support in Kaduna state, held in Zaria at the weekend.
Doing justice to the presentation he titled ‘Adolescent, HIV, Health and Well-being’, HIV & AIDS Specialist, UNICEF, Kaduna office, Dr Idris Baba told participants that, early/child and forced marriage, multiple and concurrent sexual partnership, poverty among others are responsible for the development especially among the low income settings.
Out of the 23 local government areas of Kaduna state where the research was conducted, Igabi (with highest population found in Rigasa) and Lere LGAs scored the highest percentage of 14 and 9 of girls and boys living with NIV/AIDS (2015).
According to Idris Baba, there is a need for increased manpower which include adolescent counsellors and testers in each of the community quickly added that, UNICEF is constrained with found thereby unable to cover all the communities across the state which is where the state government has to come in.
But what is the role of the media as advocates addressing adolescents and young persons to make the right choices? Next on Gobroadsheet.com