My desire is to leave a more vibrant TACA- DG


My desire is to leave a more vibrant TACA- DG

By Christiana Babayo

The Director General of Taraba AIDS Control Agency (TACA), Dr Garba has affirmed that he wants to leave behind a TACA that is more vibrant with a sustainable system at every stage of development that can possibly further reduce the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the state by the time his tenure elapsed.

The DG stated this while interacting with Newmission correspondents in his office in Jalingo recently.

He stated that the agency is not new to him. Reiterating that he had served in the agency in different capacities, as such he is familiar with the challenges and strengths of the agency which he can leverage on.

The Dr. said before he assumed office as the DG TACA, he had served the state in different capacities beginning from the year 1999. He served in the cottage hospital Sunkani as Principal Medical Officer, with Health Systems Development Project (WorldBank) and several other projects before he became the DG of the agency.

Speaking on the statistics on HIV/AIDS in the state, Dr Garba said the situation has improved but has not gotten to the level they expected it to be.

According to him, “The National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Survey (NARHS), sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Health and partners in 2012 showed that the HIV prevalence in Taraba state was 10.5%,while Nigerian HIVAIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) also sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Health but supported by other partners, reported HIV prevalence of 2.9% in Taraba state.

“I was the zonal coordinator for northeast in that NAIIS survey, I led almost over 350 field staff, we moved to different states for 6 months testing for HIV in the Northeast. It was that survey that placed Taraba at 2.9%”.

Dr. Garba who said about 46,000 people living with HIV are receiving medication in the state, however expressed fear that there may be many other people out there that may not know their status.

While outlining some of the innovations the agency has introduced to help it to be visible to the outside world, Dr. Garba noted that, TACA has created a website to enable it showcase whatever it is doing to the global community.

He said they have also developed social media handles including Watsapp groups, Facebook and twitter pages since they are providing social services.

The Dr. said apart from these
developments, he is working tirelessly to ensure that everyone working in the agency takes responsibility, as they are the ones that would make TACA look serious and attract the support of partners.

Dr. Garba applauded the contribution of the State Governor, Arc Darius Dickson Ishaku towards the agency. He said it is because of the level of passion the Governor has on the well being of the Taraba people that he is facilitating the movement of TACA staff to the new TACA office complex, aside from many other facilities put in place to help the state do well in health sector.

As a call to the people living with the HIV virus and the general public, Dr Garba maintained that, they have placed priority on counseling in the state health facilities to help people come to terms with the situation and understand that, living with HIV virus is not a death sentence.

He encouraged victims to shun stigma and follow the right procedures to live longer, as they can get married and have their own children who can turn out to be negative as long as the pregnant women attend antenatal clinics. Maintaining that stigma killed faster than the virus.

Dr. Garba expressed hope that by the time another statistics is taken in the state, the number of people living with HIV would reduce even as he noted that the statistics on the north east alone shows Taraba State has the highest HIV prevalence.


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