By Ekanem Asuquo
The Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Dr Henry Ayuk has stated the resolve of the state government towards arresting the high prevalent rate of HIV/AIDS recorded around borderline communities in the state.
According to Dr Ayuk, “Such an intervention plan constitutes a core agenda in the itinerary of this year’s World Day campaign programme intended to boost efforts aimed at checkmating the spread of the dreaded disease escalated by years of a lull in sensitization campaigns”
The commissioner who stated this while interacting with journalists in his office in Calabar disclosed that drastic steps are being considered to curtail the disturbing rate.
He attributed the increase in confirmed cases to unchecked interaction among citizens of border communities between neighboring states
He listed Cameroon, Akwa Ibom, Benue, and neighboring states as hot spots and focal points for intervention measures to curtail the high prevalence rate.
In his words: “HIV Data shows that the epicenters of HIV are in local communities next to Cameroon where people there are pockets of unchecked movements in Cross River State. There are such places in neighbouring states like Obaliku LGA which is next to Benue State. There are such places, too, next to Akwa Ibom State and other nearby states.
“HIV prevalence in the state which has reduced from 12 percent to two percent is mostly in borderline communities.
The commissioner said the state has met over 70% of HIV expectations, adding that this is on the average even though they record deaths daily.
He explained that the theme of 2023 World AIDS Day: Communities – Leadership To End AIDs By 2030′, highlights the need for synergy among stakeholders to ensure the attainment of set goals with mass testing and community sensitization.
The Permanent Secretary of the state’s primary health development agency, Dr. Etim Ayi who also spoke called for a concerted effort to minimize unrestricted infiltrations to avert new HIV cases in the state.
He emphasized the importance of community involvement, saying this is very necessary.
In his remarks, the Acting Chairman of the State Action Committee Against, AIDs, SACA, Dr Paul Odey said they need all amounts of support from leaders, communities, faith-based organizations, and stakeholders to stem the HIV