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AIDS Day: CSOs lament lack of test kits in Gombe health centres

Chairman of the Conference of Speakers of State Legislatures of Nigeria, Abubakar Y Suleiman, has advocated for more youth and women participation

A group of Civil Society Organisations in Gombe State has called on the state government to provide free HIV/AIDS test kits in all its health facilities across the state. 

Chairman of the Advocacy Working Group on Child Spacing, Alhassan Yahaya, made the call at a one-day workshop on access to female condoms and use for HIV/AIDS response.

He said that testing was vital in the fight to eliminate HIV/AIDS scourge in the state.

He also lamented that in most of the healthcare centres in the state, the test kits were not available, which he said posed a threat to citizens, especially in the rural communities.

“The state government must inject more money in getting test kits in healthcare centres across the state. It is when you know your status that advice can be given on how to embark on treatment if you are positive.

“We are aware that there is a budget for this, so the government should, as a matter of urgency, release money for these test kits so as to reduce the high rate of HIV/AIDS scourge in the state,” he said.

Yahaya also called on the government to support the self-testing initiative recently introduced to the state, to enable people to get tested at their convenience.

According to him, in some instances people marry without even knowing their HIV status because there are no test kits in the health facilities in their communities, “this is unacceptable and we must discourage that trend.”

The state Coordinator of the Civil Society on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), Mr Bachama Yusuf, decried that in some health facilities testing was no longer being encouraged because of non-availability of test kits.

“As it is now we are running out of testing kits as most of our facilities are lacking test kits; this is dangerous,” he said.

Yusuf also urged the government to ensure that test kits were made available and accessible on a free of charge basis, adding that many persons jettison testing because of poverty.

 

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