JOE EFFIONG, UYO
The South South Zonal Co-ordinator, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Uduak Daniel, has expressed concern over the high incidence of drugs use among the people in the zone.
South South is said to be ranking second to South West in the number of drug use and abuse in the country.
Consequently, Daniel, at the closing ceremony on Drugs Prevention, Treatment and Care Sensitisation Training in Relation to HIV due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Uyo, on Thursday, said healthcare practitioners must advocate prevention, treatment and care of drug users, especially those who infected with HIV.
According to her, professionals must find innovative ways to address identified gaps in the multi sectoral HIV response, explaining that the sensitisation training was organised by NACA and the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, to build the capacity of front line health responders to HIV/AIDS issues.
“This sensitisation is necessary because even in the South South zone and South-South states not much awareness has been done about drugs and the impact of drugs.
“There are already implementers in the zone and in the state that are already equip to provide services to people who inject drugs
“This is policy’s makers training, is for the state Agency for the Control of AIDS, for implementing partners in different states. It is for people who inject drugs themselves, so is basically for the policy making people,” Daniel said.
The National Project Officer of the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, Drug Demand Reduction, Mr Akan-idomo Ibanga, said that the country’s annual rate for the number of people who use drugs was 14 per cent while that of the south south stood at 16 per cent.
Ibanga said the regional national rate was higher than the world annual rate must be a cause for concern in terms of Drug use for policy makers and health practitioners in the country.
One of the participants, who is also the Director General of the Bayelsa State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Zebi Oluwatonyi, commended the organisers of the training.
She said that all they have learnt would help participants in their various task as they will continue in a step down training in their various states.
“I am very glad to be here, this programme has actually open my eyes. Is a programme that has to do with drugs users. It is a very welcome idea and we have all learnt so much from this programme.
“They let us know that there’s something pushing those that take drugs and that we need to treat them with love.
“Apart from being an administrator, the best to do is to allow the people that are not in this kind of training in my own state to have a step down training.
“So that they will learn what we have come here to learn, and as such they will be able to apply such when they come across people like this,” Oluwatonyin said.