FIC (Abia State) – The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has promised to pull resources together with the US Mission in Nigeria and National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) towards mounting aggressive advocacy for the eradication of HIV/AIDS in the State.
Governor Ikpeazu made the commitment when he received in Government House Umuahia, a delegation of the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs Kathleen Fitzgibbon and the Director General, National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA),Dr. Aliyu Gambo.
He promised to deploy the same zeal used for the COVID-19 pandemic and other health issues in the State to battle HIV /AIDS headlong.
To that end, the Governor assured that the State must ramp up HIV testing as well as other curative interventions that would lead to eradication of the scourge. He further said that the State would mobilize all the necessary platforms in other to beat the 18 months deadline given by the Team as target to bring HIV/AIDS under control in the State. He called on the US Deputy Chief of Mission to continue to support Abia in its quest to win the war against HIV/AIDS, and thanked the US Mission for returning to the State in the area of health after some years of inactivity.
The Governor highlighted the interventions of his administration in health sector in the State including the Tele-health Initiative, Geriatric Out reach and Mother & Child Hospital which he said would be commissioned soon among other interventions. He assured the Delegation that he will personally lead the Advocacy Campaign to support both the curative and behavioral change components of the fight.
Earlier, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs Kathleen Fitzgibbon said that they are in Nigeria, partnering the Federal and State Governments in pulling resources together towards reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the county as HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence.
She urged the State Government to mount strong advocacy aimed at eliminating stigma against carriers, increase HIV coverage and to encourage people with HIV/AIDS to willingly come out to access treatment.
She thanked the Governor for quickly approving the provision of accommodation for Staff of the Center for Disease Control, adding that this will strengthen synergy and collaboration between the US Mission and the State Government.
Also, speaking, the Director General NACA, Dr. Aliyu Gambo said that Abia has remained one of the strategic partners of the Federal Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS as it has been active in the payment of its counterpart funding.
He thanked the Governor for sustaining support for the program including providing office space for NACA and assured that joining hands with the US Mission and Abia State Government , they would achieve epidemic control in the State.
The Governor and the US Envoy later exchanged gifts.
Deputy Governor Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, Secretary to Government, Barrister Chris Ezem, Honorable Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, Head of Service, Sir Onyi Onyii Wamah, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prof-acb Agbazuere, other Members of the State Executive Council, Permanent Secretaries and other top Officials of the State Government witnessed the event.