The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has empowered 180 people living with HIV/AIDS in Jigawa on six income-generating trades.
The Director General of the agency, Dr Aliyu Gambo, stated this while presenting starter kits to the beneficiaries in Gumel on Thursday.
Gambo said the beneficiaries, drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state were trained in Plaster of Paris (POP), painting, interlock, barbing, confectioneries and hair dressing.
He explained that the gesture was to enable them become self-reliant and employers of labor.
The DG further stated it was part of the agency’s measures to bring HIV under control.
“This is because by 2022, precisely in the next 18 months, HIV should be under control in Nigeria, and that is why we decided to empower and open all opportunities for you to be self-reliant.
“So it is our obligation to encourage stakeholders in the sector that will provide more resources to enable us fight the disease.
“It is our obligation to also lead and show you the way by identifying skills you acquire to build your future,” the DG said.
According to him, the agency has been providing drugs and other medical supports to people living with HIV, hence the need to provide them with skills that will enable them have brighter future.
Bako further urged them to use the items judiciously to become self-reliant and contribute meaningfully to the economic growth of their communities, the state and nation at large.
“We hope these tools will enable you establish your own businesses so that in few months you must have acquired some skills and in the one next one year you will have 10 or more apprentices under you,” Bako advised.
He commended Gov. Muhammad Badaru of the state for responding to the agency’s need for collaboration, which led to the empowerment exercise.
“We are looking forward to building more people so that HIV will be under control. HIV is a disease you can live with.
“So it is our obligation to make sure that those people continue to live with it until they die.
“It is also our obligation to ensure that those living with it do not transmit to those who don’t have.
“That is the main objective of this empowerment programme because when they engaged in one business or the other they will not lack anything again,” he said.
The DG further urged them to assist the agency in the fight against the disease by identifying people living with HIV, so that they would be placed on drugs.
Responding, the governor, represented by Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Aminu Usman, commended the agency for the gesture.
He urged the beneficiaries to ensure judicious use of the items so as to achieve the desired goals.
According to him, the state government is working towards bringing the disease under control by providing drugs and test centres at its health facilities.
He added that the government and traditional institutions were creating awareness among people about the disease, prevention and medication.
Also speaking, the state’s Project Manager of State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA), Mr Ibrahim Almajiri, acknowledged that the programme was initiated to support people living with HIV towards self-reliance.
“You are trained to employ others, so try as much as you can to do so.
“So we thank NACA and the state government for the gesture,” Almajiri said.
Two of the beneficiaries, Awwalu Abdullahi and Hauwa Bala commended the agency for the gesture and pledged to use the items well. (NAN)