By Elijah Ugani: Health Correspondent
There is a smart plan being put in place to ensure zero rates are recorded in mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV/AIDS as well as those of hepatitis B says the Cross River State government in different fora over the week.
The health commissioner, Inyang Asibong and the director general of the Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency (CRSPHCDA) Betta Edu disclosed this in two events, one to develop a plan to end MTCT and the other to mark the world hepatitis day within the week.
“I want to thank UNFPA for the support towards developing this plan, we will develop a smart and realizable plan to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDs, this is a three year plan, and so we must do everything humanly possible to develop a functional plan” Asibong said Wednesday, at the first event organized by UNFPA at the channel view hotel in Calabar where she stressed that her ministry will put in its best to develop the plan.
“Cross River State has continuously enjoyed the your (developing partners) support and we will also put in our best to ensure we record zero MTCT as it is key to achieving zero new infections, a priority in the fight against HIV/Aids” said Betta Monday at the same event which will end today.
The head of office UNFPA in Cross River State, Keneth Ehuzuo earlier, in his remarks had said that “We are supporting Cross River State to develop a plan to reduce mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDs, if this plan is operationalized (sic) by January next year, with resources available, then we could be sure of reduction in the state”.
Keneth who disclosed that Kaduna and Cross River states were chosen for the elimination programme called on the state government to live up to its responsibility by getting the budget ready, releasing appropriated funds, establishing the necessary legal framework needed for implementation and pledged continuous support from the United Nations. He also pointed out that the plan will be streamlined with the Strategic Health Development Plan of the health ministry and the CRSPHCDA multi-year operational plan.
In a related development, Asibong told CrossRiverWatch Thursday in an interview at the sidelines of an event to mark the world Hepatitis day that “Hepatitis is an acute and chronic disease of the liver of various types with type B being the most deadly, it is the cause of chronic liver failure and cancer which if not checked will require a liver transplant for the patient to survive”.
Corroborating this, Betta said that “About 90 to 95 percent people across the globe do not know their status” and urged Cross Riverians to go check themselves at the nearest primary health care centre.
The event which several respondents say was to raise awareness started with a rally from the Ministry of Health headquarters at the Michael Ani secretariat to the New Secretariat complex, a distance of less than 8 kilometres in Calabar.
Also, the rally featured free screening exercises with those who tested positive referred to get the drugs at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital Calabar at a reduced rate.
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