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HIV/AIDS: NACA, Stakeholders Task Religious Leaders on Stigma, Discrimination

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The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and critical stakeholders have urged religious leaders to champion the campaign on discrimination and stigma against Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).

Mr Tobias John, Zonal Coordinator, North East, NACA made the call in Abuja on Wednesday at a stakeholders dialogue.

The dialogue was aimed setting the agenda for faith-based consultations on stigma and Human Rights in HIV.

John called on faith-based organisations to rise to the occasion in reorienting their congregants on discrimination and stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS

According to him, it is through faith and teaching that behavioural changes can be achieved.

He said that discrimination and stigma were capable of impending progress made in mitigating the impact and spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Prof. Muslih Yahaya, Executive Secretary, Muslim Ummah, South West, Nigeria condemned what he described as `mutual suspicion` and `self- righteousness` among the citizenry.

Yahaya urged religious leaders to use their platforms to emphasise things that unite the country rather than things that divide it.

He advised against passing judgement on persons especially those living with HIV/AIDS.

Yahaya advised Nigerians to jettison stereotypes, particularly those based on tribes and religion.

He reiterated his confidence in the capacity of faith-based groups to change the narrative on stigma and discrimination.

Ms Amber Erinunwinhe, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Network of Religious Leaders Living or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS (NINERELA+) said that the group intends to develop a roadmap on how to reduce discrimination and stigma.

Erinunwinhe said that the agenda would tackle issues around prevention treatment and viral suppression.

She cautioned against violating human rights through stigma and discrimination.

Mr Temitope Fashola, Country Director, Christian AID, said love remains the central message of every religion.

Fashola said that love is paramount in the fight against discrimination and stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS because God created all with love. (NAN)

Health

400 Benefit from Free TB Screening in Bauchi

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No fewer than 400 residents of Bauchi have benefitted from free Tuberclosis screening exercise initiated by a group, Langa Women Development Association.

The Programme Manager of the group, Mr Ogala Ogala, said this at the inauguration of the two-day exercise on Saturday in Bauchi.

He said the exercise was designed to promote public health and curb spread of Tuberculosis.

He said exercise was being implemented in collaboration between the organisation, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria ( BACATMA).

“We targeted the ECWA Women Conference for the Bauchi South, to conduct free screening exercise.

“The aim is to promote public health and awareness creation among the people to encourage healthy living.

“This is not just for women alone but whoever is at the designated venue can also access the free screening,” he said.

Also, Dr Simon Mafwalal, its Senior Project Manager, said the group with the support of the U.S. agency was providing TB screening services in the state.

“We can have all the equipment used for screening TB, whoever is diagnosed with the disease or has symptoms will be given the required treatment and counseling.” he said.

Mafwalal said that the medical van has the capacity to screen 250 clients daily, adding that a reasonable number of people would be screened before the end of the exercise. (NAN)

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Health

Meningitis Outbreak Kills 20 Students Of FGGC Potiskum, Other Schools In Yobe

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Twenty students have died in three boarding girls’ secondary schools and the Federal Government Girls’ College in Potiskum and Fika local government areas of Yobe State from a suspected outbreak of meningitis. 

The Yobe State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education Mohammed Sani-Idris told journalists that “20 students have been confirmed dead in the last few weeks from the suspected meningitis outbreak across some boarding secondary schools in Potiskum and Fika local government areas.

Many have been hospitalized but now discharged”.

He explained that after the outbreak at the secondary schools, “I as Commissioner, my Permanent secretary and the Executive Secretary of the State’s Science Technical Board as well as the Chairman of the Teaching Service Board have relocated to Potiskum temporarily to ensure the disease does not escalate”.

Meanwhile, Governor Mai Mala Buni represented by his Deputy Idi Barde-Gubana visited the affected schools of Fika Government Secondary School, Government Science Technical College, and Federal Government Girls’ Technical College all in Potiskum and well as Government Girls’ Science Technical College Gadaka in Fika Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Buni said: “As part of the effort geared towards containing and effectively tackling the outbreak, the government has already provided the emergency treatment drugs as well as deployment of a rapid response team to all the affected areas”.

While briefing the representative of the Governor at Specialist Hospital Potiskum, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Isa Bukar said a total number of 214 cases were recorded and three are still in the intensive care unit of the hospital responding to treatment.

A similar outbreak had killed many residents of Degubi community in Fika Local Government Area of the state in April 2023.

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Health

Cross River Warns Residents about Suspected Outbreak of Haemorrhagic Fever

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Cross River warned about a possible outbreak of viral haemorrhagic fever in old Ndebeji, in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.

Viral haemorrhagic fever is any group of infectious diseases that interfere with the blood’s ability to clot.

They are spread by contact with infected animals, people or insects.

Examples include Ebola and yellow fever.

Commissioner for Health, Dr Henry Ayuk, said in Calabar that a suspected index case was currently being investigated in complete isolation at the Ndebeji healthcare centre.

He said he had directed the state’s epidemiologist and her team to work with the local government team to collect samples from suspected cases for diagnosis

“They will provide palliative case management and institutionalise adequate infection prevention and control in the facility.

“They will also work with community leaders to identify and restrict movements of known contacts till the sample results of the suspected index client are out and entrench risk communication in the community.

“I must note that cases are most likely to present early with fever, rash, body weakness, bleeding from body openings or may even be asymptomatic,’’ he said.

Dr Ayuk appealed to residents to avoid rodents and insect bites, adding that they should put on personal protective wears if they must come close to livestock, other animals and zoos. (NAN)

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