From Okey Sampson, Umuahia and Ogbonnaya Ndukwe, Aba
Abia State government has commended Caritas Nigeria for its commitment to the war against HIV/AIDS in the state.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Joe Osuji, who made the commendation in Umuahia during a meeting of stakeholders in healthcare industry in Abia State, organised by Caritas Nigeria, said the commitment had tremendously suppressed the growth of the scourge.
Meanwhile the Chairman of Ariaria International Market Traders Association, Aba, Abia State, Chief Chukwuemeka Igara, on Friday slumped and died during a prayer meeting of the traders in the market.
Igara, aged 74, was a frontline member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the state who held various top level positions in the past.
Speaking on the performance of Caritas, Dr Osuji, identified the body as a key partner with the Okezie Ikpeazu government, pointing out that the its entrance into the state HIV/AIDS programme 47 weeks ago, had brought a quantum leap in results targeted.
The health commissioner explained that several programme implementation units had been created by his ministry, while 180 medical officials had been trained to sustain the war against HIV/AIDS.
He added that functional medical facilities had been put in place by the ministry of health in various communities, especially the hinterlands of the 17 LGAs of the state.
Abia State Director of Public Health and Disease Control, Dr Okwale Borke, disclosed that the prevalence HIV rate in the state was now down to 1.7 % from the previous 2.1% courtesy of Caritas and Abia State government’s joint efforts.
The Director of State Action Against AIDS, Dr Ogbonna Ehiemere, said his office was working assiduously with zonal coordinators from National Action and AIDS (NACA) in ensuring that Caritas programmes in the state recorded more desired results.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Caritas Nigeria, Rev Fr Uche Obodoechina, said his organisation had been working for God and humanity, with support from the government of America and other international organisations.
Rev Fr Obodoechina challenged leaders in Nigeria to work for the welfare of the people, assuring that the launching of ACCESS project by Caritas Nigeria would provide a sustained strategic implementation of the organisation’s goals.
ACCESS project Director of Caritas, Dr Amana Effiong, explained that the ACCESS project which began in October, 2022, would run for years with accelerated efforts.
Meanwhile the Chief Press Secretary to Abia State Governor, Onyebuchi Ememanka, while confirming the demise of Igara, said Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, was informed of the incident by the deceased’s eldest son, Samuel.
Sunday Sun, gathered that the late chairman, took ill during the prayer session, and had to be rushed to hospital where he died.