by crossriverwatch admin
Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has restated the call for the creation of awareness on the stigmatization of those living with HIV/AIDS in the society.
Speaking at the end of a four kilometer walk to mark the World Aids Day, Imoke who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, deputy Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham and wife Glory and members of the State House of Assembly and Executive council, said it has now become a tradition in the state to create awareness on HIV/AIDS.
Imoke who distributed flyers on HIV/AIDS during the walk said it has become imperative to sensitive the people to understand the disease and pay attention to it, adding that in Cross River with high prevalent rate of HIV/AIDs, a lot of work has to be done through awareness to fight stigmatization.
“AIDS disease is like malaria disease and those who are affected have to be treated or they will die. When you have malaria, you do not go to church or prayer house and same is with AIDS and if dictated on time, do the test and if it is positive, take medicine and will be normal like any other human being”:, he said.
“Don’t see AIDS as strange and create fear because it can be managed and cared because it is not written on the faces. It can be managed and is more manageable than cancer today but those who have cancers will come out and say they have cancer but not people with HIV/AIDS.
“We need to do more and tell people it could be contracted from anywhere and can be treated and we should look forward to a time where there will be no AIDS walk and AIDS Day.
“For this to succeed, we should enact a law and institute a legislation to back it up and ensure it is observed in the urban area where its prevalence is high. The cost of HIV on the economy is high and we should make it does not increase through awareness, so we have to create awareness for the people to be responsive and responsible.
Imoke assured that the state will continue to work with development partners on not only Mother to Child Transmissions but all those affected and afflicted multi faceted approaches because it is a national problem which needs to be confronted at the rural, urban areas, by poor and elite, adding that it will continue with the initiative.
“We will collectively with different partners to ensure that do not do one and the same thing differently”, the governor concluded.
Dr.(Mrs.) Irene Aniyom, Director General, State Action Committee on HIV/AIDS (SACA), said the theme of the walk,” Getting To Zero, Take Charge, Get Tested”, was to enable them keep solidarity with those affected and afflicted by AIDS.
Aniyom said HIV/AIDS does not kill but people die from complication from tuberculosis and hepatitis is and that the state is taking charge by ensuring that AIDs free services are available to its citizenry at free of charge.
According to her, “In all the local government areas, over 200 Inter-Personal Conductors (IPCs) have been trained on HIV/Counseling and testing and on the importance of referring patients to the nearest service delivery points. IPCs have been able to mainstream HIV activities and it is critical to train more IPCs in the state and the time is now”.
The DG noted that with every pregnant women attending services, we can be sure of a new generation of Cross Riverians free of HIV, adding that currently, there has been a drop in cares from 5.3 percent in quarter one to 2.4 percent in quarter two.
She said in the first quarter of 2013, 91, 379 attended counseling and testing of which 39,464 were males and 51,915 females of these 8,234 tested positive to HIV virus that 2,901 males and 5,333 females, adding that in the same period 1376 pregnant women tested positive.
The SACA Boss noted that through some partners have withdrawn from the state, other are still available which calls for a total take by the state to ensure that the crusade is successful carried out.
Prof Angela Oyo-Ita, Commissioner for Health said there are 336 sites scaled up in the state with available drugs and commodities, adding that the newly opened central drug store in Calabar is meant to serve the South-South geo-political region.
Oyo-Ita disclosed that her ministry has been working with development partnership to train Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in the state while enjoining everyone to avail himself of his HIV status and be tested.
Governor had earlier commissioned the Festival Village for the benefit of the people during the 31 days Calabar Festival at the Calabar Municipal grounds.
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