The National Agency for the Control of AIDS has screened 2,109 Internally Displaced Persons in Yobe State, to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. NACA project coordinator, Dr. Aminu Fikin, said the weeklong exercise led to the screening of the IDPs in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states. He said, “We have so far screened 759 people in Nguru, 850 in Jakusko, 400 in Gashua, 400 in Yusufari and, 250 in Jajimaji. The IDPs were from Baga, Malum Fatori and Askira in Borno state, Michika, Uba and Mubi in Adamawa State; and, Buni Yadi, Damaturu and Giedam in Yobe State.”
Fikin said 10 people in Nguru and four in Gashua tested positive and were referred for Anti Retroviral Therapy at the Federal Medical Centre, Nguru. He added, “The project had targeted 6,000 people but there was no IDP camp in Yobe, as most of the IDPs are staying with relations in individual houses in villages scattered across the state. We are also constrained by the difficult terrain to reach some of these villages.”
A health care provider, Hajiya Rakiya Sherrif, disclosed that the project embarked on intensive counselling to convince the IDPs to volunteer for the screening exercise. “We had to provide some basic needs like treated mosquito nets, soap, detergents and other toiletries to woo them for the screening exercise. “Most of them demanded assistance for food, beddings and clothing as their immediate needs; while there was also the need for government, non-governmental organisations and philanthropic individuals to assist these displaced persons,” Sherrif said.
Ibrahim Dankanawa, spokesman of the Internally Displaced Persons, commended NACA for the screening to know their status and to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. He pleaded, “We, however, wish to appeal to government to come to our aid with food, clothing, bedding and other health care needs.” Similarly, Hauwa Usman, a widow and mother of six, urged other agencies to emulate the quick response demonstrated by NACA. “If only other agencies would respond so quickly with food, clothes and beddings, our problems would be substantially addressed” Hauwa cried.