USAID, FHI360 and SIDHAS project has awarded the Cross River State Government through the Cross River state Ministry of Health for an outstanding performance which has led to drastic significant reduction in the prevalence and spread of HIV AIDS in the state. The commended the Governor Sen Ben Ayade for his Commitment to health care and even HIV management in the state. The also Commended the very proactive nature and vibrancy of the Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu who have worked with her team and partners to deploy strategies in combatting the Disease, which has yielded great results.
Cross River State has continued to show excellent progress in the fight against HIV & AIDS. This was disclosed by National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) during the week. The data released by NACA revealed that there has been a consistent drop in HIV & AIDS prevalence rates in the state. This is in contrary to reports emanating from some sections of the media suggesting that Cross River is going higher in the prevalent rating and backsliding in the control of the deadly virus.
According the State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, the prevalence dropped from 6.6 per cent just 3 years ago to 2.1 per cent in 2020 and to 1.7 percent in 2021. Big thanks to the great contributions and support from our partners USAID working through FHI360, on SIDHAS Project. Also other partners like UNICEF, AHF, Hartland alliance Jepigo etc
Dr Edu said though the rate of HIV prevalence in the state has reduced to 1.7 per cent from 2.1 per cent, “it is still a source of concern to the State government who has vowed to bring it down to 0.001%.”
She said there was need to step up effort to reduce it further and if possible eradicate it through aggressive publicity campaign and follow up of existing cases, situation room monitoring, community active search, youth friendly centers, one-stop service Hubs, PMTCT (prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV), strategies targeted at key populations; while promising that the government of Senator Prof Ben Ayade is committed to achieving that goal.
“Although the current prevalence rate shows a reduction, it is still a source of concern when we consider the actual number of people within the bracket. There is, therefore, the need for us to step up our efforts to achieve a further reduction in the prevalence rate through aggressive public enlightenment campaign and follow up which must be taken to the nooks and crannies of the state.” She noted.
Recall that in 2019, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade had said the state was not safe despite the declaration of 2 percent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the state by the National AIDS Indicator Survey.
Meanwhile the Director General of Cross River State Agency for Control of AIDS (SACA), Dr Etcheri Ansa has reacted to the latest rating by assuring Cross Riverians that the agency will continue working towards reducing the number of new HIV infections and utilising a multi-sectoral approach for the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS.
According to her this is in line with the UNAIDS 90’90’90’ initiative which states that by the year 2030: 90 per cent of people living with HIV should know their status; 90 per cent of HIV positive individuals are initiated on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs and 90 per cent of individuals on antiretroviral (ARV) drugs should achieve suppression.
“We must seek out everybody living with HIV/AIDS for proper cure. “The Cross River State government is committed to achieving this goal as part of our hollistic Health strategy approach for attainment of Universal Health Coverage.
According to the new data released, Akwa Ibom State occupies the number one spot in the National HIV Prevalence list with 5.6%, followed by Benue with 4.9%, Rivers 3.8%, Taraba 2.7%, Anambra 2.4%, Enugu 2.1%, Abia 2.1% Delta, Nasarawa on 1.9%, Edo, Bayelsa on 1.8% while Cross River State is 1.7%.