Abia First Lady Joins Battle Against HIV Infection

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About 12,603 persons living with HIV  in Abia state are to receive government minimal support services as part of commitment towards the reducing the rate of infection and eradication of HIV/AIDS in the state. The wife of the governor, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji dropped this hint on Monday in Umuahia after leading a road and awareness walk on HIV/AIDS in the state stated that 7,351 carriers of the virus will equally receive treatment in various outlets in the state.

Lady Orji further said that 33 counseling and testing outlets and seven comprehensive Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres in the three senatorial zones of the state have been established all geared towards reducing the rate of new infections.

She called on pregnant women and all health workers in the state to access the services of prevention of mother to child transmission by going to the nearest centres to them for counseling, testing and treatment in order to deliver a HIV negative baby, and free the next generation from HIV.

The wife of the governor described this year’s celebration theme-“ Getting to Zero death level” as aptly stating that ensuring national ownership and financial sustainability which involves mobilizing in-country resources to full in the huge gaps in the response with a major emphasis on greater access to treatment would go a long way to control the virus. She therefore cautioned against stigmatization of the carriers and stressed the need for total abstinence and mutual fidelity as the best options to curb the spread of the epidemic.

In his address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Okechukwu  Ogar said that in line with this year’s global theme, the state has been working towards getting to zero level on the HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state through distribution testing kits to all facilities in the state, scaled up prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) to 25 more sites to reduce new infections, distribution of HIV/AIDS guidelines/protocols, capacity building of health workers, training of 60 health workers on PMTCT.

Dr. Ogar also said that 50 health workers on TB/HIV collaboration have been trained while 12 health facilities for HIV activities have been scaled up and 2012 National HIV/AIDS and reproductive survey conducted.

The Commissioner commended the wife of the governor for her special interest support and provision of a suitable environment for these interventions to be achieved.

Earlier in his speech, the Project Manager agency for Control of HIV/AIDS, Dr Sam Ohaeri commended the wife of the governor for her support to the agency’s programmes and in all HIV/AIDS related programme and restated their commitment in the fight against the epidemic.

The event featured road walk around major roads and streets of the state capital by stakeholders and students in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In a related development,Abia State government and four United Nations Health agencies (UNH4) have pledged to deepen their areas of partnership in their commitment to further promote maternal and infant mortality rate, exclusive breastfeeding, safe pregnancy delivery and optimal care for the new born baby in the state.

Restating this commitment during a courtesy call on the wife of the governor, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji by the UNH4 team comprising UNICEF, UNFPA, WHO and World Bank, they pledged to sustain all manners that would facilitate optimal healthcare for women and children.

Welcoming the team, Lady Orji said that the present state government accords healthcare a top priority and has therefore left no stone unturned in its commitment to give quality health services to the people.

Lady Orji stated that the construction of 200 new primary healthcare centres across the 17 Local Government, the establishment of the state primary healthcare development agency in line with the National policy, the executive support and personal involvement in all rounds of Immunization and de-worming of school children, war against measles sensitization on Cancer, hypertension and diabetes, exclusive breastfeeding and attracting medical teams for free medicare services to the people were all geared towards ensuring not only a sound health for women and children but the entire populace.

The wife of the governor stated that the above activities in the area of health support to people living with HIV/AIDS, empowerment through donation of food items to less privileged and indigent women fall in line with the UNH4 objectives of ensuring optimal health for women and children.

She assured the team of further collaborations of other donor agencies of government commitment in the health sector especially in primary healthcare to achieve optimal health for the people.

The leader of the delegation, Dr. (Mrs) Esther Obinya said that they were on advocacy visit to the state as one of states benefiting from Canadian Aid Group and to assess performance of the states in areas of primary healthcare.

Mrs. Obinya disclosed of special focus on community based new born baby care aimed at ensure that special care/attention are given to new born baby to ensure their survival and meet their needs.

She appealed to the wife of the governor for support the new initiative by ensuring adequate sensitization of women to deliver at hospitals and health centres were trained attendants are in place to minimize the state’s rate of maternal mortality.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Okechukkwu Ogar said that the advocacy visit to states in South-East state were aimed at reducing maternal and child mortality rate and that the state has made presentations of what she has been doing especially in areas of maternal and child health and in all aspect of health as well as on how to deepen the co-operation with the UNH4.

A non-governmental organization – Follow Better Organization says its collaboration with the Abia State government has helped in the reduction of consumption of illicit and hard drugs among youths in the State.

The founder of the organization, Hon. Mao Ohuabunwa disclosed this at a special Prayer summit organized by the NGO with the Abia Prayer Network in Umuahia stated that they aimed at value to life through building and enhancing the quality of the intellectual capacity of the people.

Hon. Ohuabunwa stated that the collaboration with the state government with special focus on illicit and hard drugs among youths in the state has culminated in drastic reduction the number of addicts hooked to drugs as well as donation of teaching and learning aids to school in partnership with an European Organization.

He said that FBO are equally engaged in orientating the youths, ethics of fundamental behaviour, political education and sensitization programme with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other electoral organizations and commended Her Excellency, the wife of the governor, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji for initiating the Abia Prayer Network through which the affairs of the government and the staff are lifted to God.

The former House leader of the Federal House of Representatives said that they partner with the Prayer Network to pray for Gos’s hand in the development agenda of the government, security and peace of the state stressing that idolatry should not be associated with a state christened God’s Own State.

In her speech, Lady Orji urged all NGOs and Political Organizations in the State to make God the foundation of their operations. Stating that the Abia Prayer Network was designed to seek God’s grace and divine intervention for peace, good governance, protection of lives and property and stability of the present government.

She described prayers as a veritable tool for unlocking God’s divine blessings for mankind adding that prayers are penitent in the life of all mortals, communities and nations.

The wife of the governor enjoined all Abians to join hands with the Prayer Network to prey for those in authority and the state in general in order to ensure peace and rapid development.

Earlier in a sermon, an Abuja based Clergy, Pastor Mike Daniels Urged those placed in positions of authority to implement policies that would positively affect the lives of the downtrodden in the society and warded that judgment of God would descent upon that wicked that devices all wickedness that attract curse on the land and subjects and urged all to repent for God’s mercies to cleanse the land and uplift the people.

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