…Victims turn “street begging” for food.
By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Ahead of the World International AID Day, leader of Alumma Foundation (Association of Muslims Women living with HIV/AID) in Kaduna, Hajiya Aisha Usman, has raised alarm over increased malnourished orphans leaving positively with the disease in the state, calling on the attention of state government, WHO, UNICEF and other AID agencies for quick intervention.
Hajiya Usman disclosed this to journalists in Kaduna when she visited Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) with some of her members that are AIDs carriers.
The Foundation leader said, majority of widows with orphans that are living with the virus find it always difficult to get 3 square meals daily, as most of them lost their husbands through HIV/AID-related issues.
She said most of the orphans that are HIV/AID carriers find it also extremely difficult to eat good food due to the fact that their mother cannot feed them.
“Many Muslim women with HIV/AID have turned street beggars due to lack of food to feed their orphans that are HIV/AID-positive at home, as they move from mosque-to-mosque, bagging for what to give to their orphans for their survival.”
She noted that government gives drugs to these victims, but that “taking drugs every day without food is a waste of time.”
Most of the widows that are HIV/AIDS carriers want government to empower them with skilled acquisition, so as to enable them fight poverty, hunger and unemployment.
Aisha appealed to states and federal government, WHO, & UNICEF to support these victims with food to eat, so as to save lives of women and children living with HIV/AIDS at Rigasa in Igabi local government, Kaduna state, north western Nigeria.
She said, “Hunger is our major challenge. Since the death of our husbands and, as you know, we cannot come out to voices our problems due to stigma in the communities.
“We want Kaduna state government to look for the real people, who are living with the virus, with a view to assisting them with the needed support.”
Furthermore, she made mention that their Number One killer is mosquitoes, not HIV/AIDS, simply because malaria disease is bad for any person living with the virus.
She said, they lost hundreds of their members due to lack of drugs in some years back, but thanked God for the adequate supply of drugs.
A widow with 3 children, all positive (name withheld), told journalists that she usually spend many nights without eating any food with her children.
She said this attitude of lack of support to widows and orphans that are HIV/AIDS careers is becoming worrisome day-by-day.
She called on Kaduna state governor’s wife to come and visit them, so that she could see how they are living.
On the other hand, this year’s theme for World AIDS Day, which will be marking its 30th anniversary on 1 December, will be tagged, “Know Your Status.”
“Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today, three in four people living with HIV know their status. But we still have miles to go, as the latest UNAIDS report had shows, and that includes reaching people living with HIV, who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services.
“Since 1988, every year, United Nations agencies, governments and civil societies join together to campaign around specific themes related to AIDS,” she said.