By Silas Onuoha
Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has promised to pool resources together with the US Mission and National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, NACA, towards mounting agressive advocacy for the eradication of HIV/AIDS in the State.
Governor Ikpeazu stated this when he received a delegation of the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs Kathleen FitzGibbon and the Director General, National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA), Dr Aliyu Gambo at Government House, Umuahia, he promised to deploy the same zeal he has brought to the health sector of the State to battle the HIV/AIDS scourge headlong.
The Governor declared that the State must ramp up HIV test as well as other curative interventions that would lead to eradication of the scourge.
He added, “the State would mobilize all the necessary platforms in order to beat the 18 months deadline given by the team as target to bring HIV/AIDS under control”.
Using the forum,
Governor Ikpeazu call on the US Deputy Chief of Mission to continue to support Abia in its quest to win the war against HIV/AIDS.
Highlighting some of his innovative interventions in the health sector including the tele-health initiative, geriatric outreach and mother & child hospital, the Governor noted that these interventions account for the minimal cases of Covid-19 infections in the state.
Earlier, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs Kathleen FitzGibbon said, “we are in Nigeria partnering the Federal and State Governments in pooling resources together towards reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the county even as the disease is no longer a death sentence”.
She urged the state government to mount advocacy aimed at eliminating stigma against carriers, increase HIV awareness coverage and encourage people with the infection to willingly come out to access treatment.
Also speaking, the Director General, NACA, Dr Aliyu Gambo said, “Abia has remained one of the strategic partners of the federal government in the fight against HIV/AIDS as it has been active in the payment of its counterpart funding”.
Commending the Governor for sustaining support for the program including providing office space for NACA, he assured that joining hands with the US and Abia State governments, they would achieve epidemic control in the State.
The Deputy Governor, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Mr Chris Ezem, the Head of Service (HOS), Sir Onyii Wamah, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Professor ACB Agbazuere, Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, and his Health counterpart, Dr Joe Osuji, Deputy Chief of Staff (Office of the Deputy Governor), Sir Don Ubani, among other government functionaries were present during the visit.