The FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, has directed officials of the FCT Health & Human Services Secretariat, particularly the FCT Action Committee on AIDS (FACA) to de-emphasize seminars and conferences but do things that would really uplift the standard of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Minister gave this instruction while receiving members of the Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, FCT Chapter that paid him a visit in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja.
Malam Bello reiterated that the officials should be practical in their approach in dealing with such persons by fostering things that would have direct bearing on their lives.
The Minister stated that the relevant Agencies should try to encourage an enabling environment to do things in such a way that they spend less on conferences, booklets, banners and T-shirts.
According to him, “Now is not the time for us to be spending money on ceremonies. But we will strengthen our institutions to be able to provide services and support to enable you have direct positive impact on your lives”.
He said that the Health Secretariat and FACA should step up for them proactive counseling in FCT Hospitals; adding, “I think it is something that you should try to encourage as much as possible, and then if there is any window of opportunity to be able to take them on as full time employees, please explore that”.
“I know it is difficult; employment is a challenge but you always have one or two vacancies and you should keep on doing it continuously. At all locations, we should have these people that provide counseling. For everything in life, information is key. If you get the right information, half of your problem is solved,” the Minister stressed.
Malam Bello also directed the FCT Social Development Secretariat to, as a matter of policy encourage people living with HIV/AIDS to participate in the empowerment programmes being undertaken by the FCT Administration to enable them enjoy full benefits.
The Minister further directed the Health and Human Services Secretariat to pay for the three year rent arrears the organization, People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is owing to take the burden off them and improve the level of their networking.
Speaking earlier, the Coordinator of the People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, Comrade Peter Ogbonaya Ikiti, said that the first case of HIV/AIDS was reported in Nigeria in 1986 and that since then prevalence cases in Nigeria is one of the highest in Africa only next to South Africa.
He appealed to the Minister to help settle the three-year rent for office accommodation the organization owed in the Federal Capital Territory.
Muhammad Hazat Sule, FCAI
Deputy Director / Chief Press Secretary,
Thursday, February 16, 2017.