May 3, 2017

Reps move to address HIV/AIDS spread in IDP camps


House of Representatives

The House of Representatives on Wednesday resolved to investigate reports of spread of HIV/AIDS in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the country.

This was sequel to a motion by Rep. Aishatu Dukku (Gombe- APC) at plenary in Abuja.

Moving the motion, Dukku said recent records from Borno State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (BOSACA) showed that 512 new cases of HIV infections were recorded at the IDPs camps in the state.

House of Representatives

She said that official records had earlier shown that no fewer than 5, 000 IDPs in 27 camps were living with the virus.

The legislator said that the report also revealed that none of the camps was providing HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, anti-retroviral refills or continuous counselling.

According to her, only a portion of those infected with the virus can access treatment.

Dukku said that only 32 of the 90 anti-retroviral centres in the state were still operational.

She said the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response (SPHERE) recommended the provision of anti-retroviral drugs to IDPs or refugees as minimum standard for health services in crisis situations.

Dukku expressed concern over the rate of sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation of the IDPs by unscrupulous camp officials.

She alleged that rape also perpetrated by members of the host communities and older IDPs were largely responsible for the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) ravaging the camps.

Unanimously, the lawmakers voted to investigate the development.

In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, mandated committees on Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees, Initiative on North-East Zone, and Healthcare Services to investigate the matter.

Dogara urged the committees to make urgent and appropriate recommendations on ways to ameliorate the spread of the virus and report back within four weeks.