The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong has charged media practitioners in the State to create enlightenment programmes geared at the control of HIV/AIDS surge in Akwa Ibom State.
The Commissioner stated this recently in Uyo at a meeting organized by Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of HIV/ AIDS (AKSACA) in collaboration with Family Health International 360 in Uyo for Media practitioners in the State.
Comrade Ini Ememobong said, there was need for media practitioners in the State to consciously create Programmes that will guide the public in joining the government to fight the prevalence of HIV/AIDS amongst the people of Akwa Ibom State.
Represented by the Director of Technical Services in the State, Mrs. Blessing Urua, the State Information Boss reiterated that, jingles, magazine Programmes, features and commentaries, can be fashioned by media representatives towards stemming the tide of HIV/AIDS and urged participants to make useful contributions in this regard at the meeting.
In his opening address, the Project Manager, AKSACA, Dr Igbemi A. Igbemi urged journalists to be factual in their reportage on HIV, as the State was making impressive records on the control of the epidemic.
He stated that although the prevalence rate in the State still remained at 5.5% based on the NHAIS rating of 2018 , the percentage has reduced from the previously 10.8%.
Addressing the participants, the State Director, Family Health International 360, Dr. Kolawole Olatunbosun maintained that HIV/ AIDS has come to stay like any other disease. He noted that the role of the media in enhancing the success in the fight against the disease is very important now than ever; that health education, public enlightenment and awareness are crucial to the implementation of the intervention strategies.
According to Dr Kolawole, HIV is not a death sentence as was perceived in the mind of people rather one can live a normal life if those infected can strictly adhere to their drugs regime which has been simplified to one tablet a day.
Also speaking, the SIDHAS Deputy Director technical, Dr Pius Nwanokoro, stated that FHI 360 has been implementing testing and counseling in 21 Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State and has been able to decentralize distribution of drugs to people in the hinterlands through Health Centers and patent medicine dealers already existing in the communities.
He disclosed that they have been conducting training for the traditional birth practitioners and supporting them with disinfectants and gloves to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS among pregnant women who patronized them.
Dr Nwanokoro also stated that as part of their intervention in the State, they conduct cervical cancer test for their clients to reduce death rate among pregnant women and have succeeded in the reduction of transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child during birth.
The meeting was well attended by journalists from different media houses, staff of AkSACA, FHI 360 and Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS (NEPWHAN).