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HIV: APYIN, UNFPA Seek Viral Load Suppression In Youths

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The Association of Positive Youths Living with HIV and AIDs in Nigeria (APYIN) says it is working with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to address HIV viral load suppression among Adolescents and Young People (AYP) in Kaduna State.
The Coordinator of the association in the state, Mr Sambo Heman, told The Tide’s source in Kaduna in commemoration of the 2022 World AIDS Day that one of the key challenges of the over 10,000 AYP living with HIV and AIDS in the state is low adherence to the drugs.
The source reports that World AIDS Day is annually celebrated on December 1 in UN member states since 1988 as an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who died of the disease.
The celebration has “Equalise” as theme for 2022.
AIDS is a chronic immune system disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight diseases.
HIV can be spread through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.
There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but medications can control the infection and prevent disease progression and people taking HIV medications may not have other symptoms for years.
Some people with HIV develop flu-like symptoms two to four weeks after getting the virus and as the virus multiplies and destroys immune cells, symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes may occur.
If left untreated, HIV typically turns into AIDS in about eight to 10 years.
Heman, therefore, said APYIN, with support from UNFPA, is working to address non-adherence to drugs and lack of viral suppression among AYP in the state.
He added that the intervention was being piloted in Kaduna North and Chikun Local Government Areas of the state with high burden of AYP living with the virus and nonadherence to drugs.
The coordinator noted that drugs were always available with no stockout, adding however that the AYP were not adhering to the drugs, leading to low viral load suppression among young people.
He explained that “the initiative provides a platform for a case conference with all unsuppressed adolescents and young people living with HIV and AIDS.
“We meet and discuss issues around why they are not adhering to the drugs and why those adhering to the drugs are not attaining viral load suppression.
“This intervention is very critical for us, particularly to address the challenge of low suppression of viral load among AYP.
“One of the issues that came out during our conversation is stigma even within households, while others do not even know why they are taking the drugs.
“If we fail to address this problem to ensure viral suppression we will fall back to yesterday and revert all progress made so far.”
The coordinator added that another issue that came out was that a significant number of AYP were abusing drugs.
He explained that the drugs were interacting with the antiretroviral drugs, thereby inhibiting its effectiveness leading to reduced viral load suppression.

He said plans were being concluded to work with Kaduna State Bureau for Substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment and other government agencies to address the challenge, adding that stigma had remained one of the major challenges affecting people living with the virus in schools, including households.

The association, with support from UNFPA, UNICEF and other partners, is working with families, religious and community leaders, school managers and administrators to address the issue of stigma and discrimination, he said.

One of the AYP, Ms Fatima Abdulazeez, told NAN that she is living a quality life because of adherence to drugs.

Abdulazeez, a graduate of microbiology, however, said she is still finding it difficult to fully disclose her HIV status because of the fear of being stigmatised.

“I am living in fear due to the uncertainty of how people will act if they know my status. Notwithstanding, I am still urging residents to get tested, know their status and begin treatment if positive,” she said.

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Ogun Government Tasks Council Bosses On Improved IGR

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Ogun State Government has enjoined Local Government Council Chairmen to intensify efforts at improving their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and not rely on the federal or state governments for funds.
The state’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ganiyu Hamzat, stated this during the January 2023 edition of the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) meeting at the Oba’s Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Monday.
Hamzat said the move became imperative to enable them have more funds both from allocations and IGR to execute beneficial projects at the grassroots.
He insisted that the excess fund in the recent time needed to be increased in fulfillment of their mandate to their people.
The commissioner who disclosed that its inspectorate and monitoring department had commenced monitoring exercise to make project execution conform with the required standard stated that the ministry would continue to ensure that funds accruable to local council’s were well utilised.
In his presentation, Chief Economic Adviser to the Governor and Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, disclosed that N7,661,239,092.01 was received as December 2022 allocation for the 20 councils in the state, which emanated from Statutory Revenue, Value Added Taxes (VAT), Exchange Gain, Electronic Money Transfer Levy (EMTL) and Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P).
Represented by the Permanent Secretary and Accountant General of the State Treasury, Babatunde Aregbesola, Okubadejo said N7,221,233,073.00 would be used to pay the first-line charges, which included primary school teachers’ salary, local council staff salary, pensions, traditional councils, other payment of Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) arrears, statutory payment to Local Government Service Commission, release to local councils and other charges.
He added that it excluded PAYE and five per cent bond on pension, amounting to N314,164,709.56, which was yet to be effected, while N754,170,728.57 remained as gross surplus for the month.
Also Speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Kolawole Fagbohun, urged the chairmen to make judicious use of funds available at their disposal to embark on projects that would improve the lots of their people.

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Minister Commissions Kano CRFFN Zonal Office, Urges Customs Collaboration

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Minister  of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye has commissioned the Kano Zonal Office of the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN).
This is even as he called for the collaboration of the Nigeria Custom Service (NCS).
Speaking during the commissioning in Kano , Adegoroye stressed  the President Buhari’s resolve to groom the Nigerian economy through the various infrastructure put in place by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to boost productivity.
While commending the efforts of CRFFN, Adegoroye however called on other government agencies, particularly the Nigeria Customs Service to cooperate with CRFFN towards achieving its mandate when required from time to time.
Adegoroye said “President Muhammad Buhairi is resolved to groom the Nigerian economy by the various infrastructure put in place by the Federal Ministry of Transportation to encourage productivity.
This new Zonal office built by CRFFN is another testimonial to that fact. While recognizing the efforts of other government agencies especially those under the purview of the Ministry of Transportation, I call for your cooperation with the CRFFN which may be required from time to time particularly, the Nigeria Customs Service”.
The Permanent Secretary,  Federal Ministry of Transportation, Dr Magdalene Ajani noted that the CRFFN has been training and certifying freight forwarders in Diploma and Higher Diploma Degree in about six Federal Universities across the country.
Ajani further encouraged all freight forwarders to seize the opportunities of CRFFN’s training and retraining programme to boost their business and professionalism. This is the core mandate of CRFFN to all freight forwarders in Nigeria.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Registrar, CRFFN, Barr. Sam Nwakohu noted that CRFFN remains focused in its determination to entrench professionalism, promote freight logistics efficiency, and improve Nigeria’s ranking on the Logistics Performance index.

Nwakohu informed that CRFFN have six zonal offices in all the geopolitical Zones in Nigeria.

He said the Kano zonal office was strategic being in a commercial capital of North Western Nigeria, adding that it would ensure total logistics integration to achieve CRFFN’s overall objective.

The Registrar however, enjoined all practitioners to take full advantage of the Zonal office to build capacity by way of training and leveraging on national and international logistics networks and alliances.

“We are committed to the completion of other ongoing projects across the country in full preparation of Nigeria’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), especially in the cross border logistics service provision and no geo-political zone will be left behind.

“We, therefore, enjoin all practitioners to take full advantage of our presence here to build capacity by way of training and leveraging on our national and international logistics networks and alliances”, Nwakohu stated.

While also commending the Federal Ministry of Transportation for its efforts in making the project a reality, the Chairman, Board of CRFFN, Alhjai Tsani Abubkar, on his part, noted that the Zonal office would make work and business easier for Freight forwarders who work at the Northern areas.

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FG To Deliver 1,071 Workers’ Homes In Eight States

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In line with the renewed drive to increase the delivery of affordable housing to Federal Government workers, over 3,560 homes would be delivered under phases 1 and II of the National Affordable Housing Delivery Programme.
The programme promoted by the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in partnership with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) is aimed at delivering decent, safe and quality housing for workers at affordable prices.
A statement by FMBN Group Head, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Timan Elayo, said plans were underway to commission 1,071 completed houses in project sites nationwide.
Elayo stated that the house types are based on proven social housing models, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, with prices ranging from N3.1 to N8.3 million.
The Joint Implementation Committee of the Programme, comprising of NLC, TUC and NECA has approved the commissioning exercise in eight states, namely 100 housing units in Akure, Ondo State, 100 housing units in Yola, Adamawa State,315 housing units in Katsina, 90 housing units in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, 180 housing units in Damaturu, Yobe State.
Others are 100 housing units in Sokoto, Sokoto State, 86 housing units in Maiduguri, Borno State, and 100 housing units in Kogi State.
In his remarks, FMBN Managing Director, Mr. Hamman Madu, expressed delight with the completion of the first batch of the housing units, applauding the labour centres for their cooperation and support for the programme.
Madu also commended the collaborative spirit that has  fostered the understanding of labour leaders and NECA on the realities and financial challenges that workers face, while making constructive inputs to the housing designs, pricing and other relevant conditions for delivering the project.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the government backing the Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) Programme was aimed at boosting civil servants’ welfare needs in terms of housing for effective service delivery.
Fashola, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony of 116 FISH Housing Programme Units in Gwagwalada, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), described Civil Servants as a critical component of development of a nation, adding that it is the reason the administration was paying special attention to their living condition.
He listed the Federal Government’s support for States to clear their salaries liabilities; civil servants salary review; Pension reforms, and the removal of equity contribution of the Federal Mortgage Bank housing loan of below N5 million for civil servants as among  the benefits of civil servants from the federal government.
The minister, therefore, commended the leadership of the Ministry’s Public Building and Housing Directorate for their commitment in securing the land and the development of the site master plan and infrastructure that would enable private developers’ interest for investment in the sector.

Similarly, he assured Gwagwalada Area Council, one of the host communities, of the government’s continued support and effort in developing the area.

Earlier, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi Esan, thanked the minister for providing the expansive land in a prime area spanning over five hectares for the construction of the housing units.

Folashade described the groundbreaking event as a watershed moment in accelerating attainment of government’s agenda of ensuring the welfare of civil servants through the provision of affordable housing.

According to her, the FISH programme was conceptualised as a vehicle to address the current housing deficit faced by civil servants insisting that the houses would further alleviate their sufferings.

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