By Our Correspondent
In its renewed effort to totally eradicate the Human Immune Virus (HIV), particularly mother to child transmission (MTCT), Country Director of United Nations, Mr. Bilali Camara has set 2020 deadline to end the transmission of the virus in Cross River and Nigeria at large.
Camara who dropped the hint yesterday during a dinner in honor of United Nations’ (UN) agencies after their 3-day retreat hosted by the wife of Governor Ben Ayade, Lynda in Calabar, said the partnership with the governor’s wife’s NGO, Mediatrix Development Foundation, has given them the opportunity to re-strategize to put an end to HIV-related deaths in the state.
In his words: “We have discussed and agreed as well as given ourselves a homework which is essential that by the end of 2020, no child will be born with HIV in Cross River State and no mother will be dying of AIDS in this state, even in Nigeria.”
Continuing, the UN envoy maintained that “We want the governor to lead us in this direction to ensure that Cross River becomes the first state in Nigeria to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV. Under the leadership of UNICEF, all of us will be working with you to make sure that this vision, this objective will certainly become a reality.”
He further stated that “we will certainly go back and start working to see how better we can help our brothers and sisters in the North-East because we cannot forget them despite the fact that we are working presently in the South-East and also sending life saving drugs to Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa which are also burning with HIV.”
While thanking the state for being a good host to the UN systems in Nigeria which was what informed their choice of Calabar for the retreat, he stated that, “what convinced me is when l spoke to my colleague about this event, he said, let’s come to Cross River, and when I asked why? He said it’s a state where humans and nature are living in harmony.”
Camara also promised to collaborate with Mediatrix in the actualization of other UNAID programs in the state including achieving its Sustainable Development Goals, noting that it could only succeed with the support of the state.
Responding, Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, lauded the UN system in Nigeria for their pragmatic approach in the eradication of HIV/AIDS in the state.
While commending the effort of the wife of the governor, Dr. Linda Ayade for setting up the NGO aimed at protecting orphans and vulnerable children including child right issues, the deputy governor restated the commitment of the state government in ensuring that healthcare delivery becomes a right of all Cross Riverians by introducing a more robust social safety net that will give the poor access to qualitative healthcare services.
Earlier, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Mediatrix Development Foundation, Dr. Manz Denga, disclosed that the body was collaborating with the global agencies in order to bring succor to the vulnerable in the state with the view to giving them a sense of belonging.
He said the template the NGO will be working on was scrutinized by relevant UN agencies, even as he raised the hope that it would work in tandem with the agency to better the lots of Cross Riverians.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.