The Akwa Ibom state government has cleared the air on the reported high HIV prevalence rate saying that there has been a drop in transmission from 10.8 percent in 2014 to 5.5 percent in 2018.
The state commissioner for health, Dominic Ukpong stated this in Uyo, the state capital adding that the scourge of the disease has since dropped
According to Ukpong, “The last nationally accepted HIV survey, prior to the NAIIS survey in 2018 was the ANC SENTINEL study in 2014 and the National prevalence was 3% while Akwa Ibom state prevalence was 10.8%. Arguably as it is being reported that the national prevalence has dropped from 3% (2014) to 1.4% (2018), similarly, that of Akwa Ibom State has dropped from 10.8% (2014) to 5.5% (2018).”
He said the state government is not only committed to providing basic infrastructure in the state but also committed to the health and wellbeing of the people with huge resources.
The commissioner however stated that the current HIV/AIDS situation in the state called for a “more robust multi-sectoral response towards curbing the epidemic in the state”, adding that government would step up collaboration through Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of AIDS (AKSACA) and Akwa Ibom State HIV /AIDS and STI Control Progamme (SASCP) with implementing partners.
In the same way, government plans increasing access to HIV testing services, by providing enough rapid test kits whereby all primary health centres and secondary health facilities in the state will be able to provide free HIV testing services to its citizens, he said.
“Increasing access to treatment by creating 3 new comprehensive treatment centres, 1 per senatorial district to be fully supported by the state government these will compliment other comprehensive treatment centres supported by international partners,’ he stated.
DUkpong also added that the State Primary Health Care Development Board, inaugurated by Governor Udom Emmanuel recently was working had to commence its activities, which would include management of our primary health centres saying that this will impact positively on the service delivery in these health facilities.
The Commissioner explained that the state government would be embarking on state wide community outreaches and enlightenment campaigns to create demand for the uptake of HIV services.
He called on the media to partner with the state government by incorporating jingles, news promo and talk
Show programmes as well as media chats on HIV at no cost, to support the fight against the transmission of the virus.
He also said that in line with the new national strategic frame work 2019- 2023, state government will lead advocacy to the local government councils in the state to lend regular and dedicated support for HIV intervention and other health programmes in their respective local governments areas towards ensuring long term mitigation programme.
ANIEFIOk UDONQUAK, Uyo