Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, on Tuesday, reiterated his administration’s commitment in the fight to eradicate HID/AIDS in Abia State.
He promised to pull resources together with the United States of America mission in Nigeria and National Agency for the control of AIDS (NACA) towards mounting aggressive advocacy for the eradication of the deadly disease in the state.
Governor Ikpeazu, made the pledge when he received in Government House Unuahia 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.
This was disclosed in a release by Onyebuchi Ememanka, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia, the state capital on Tuesday.
Ikpeazu also promised to deploy the same zeal used to the COVID-19 pandemic and other health issues in the state to battle the disease. headlong.
He assured that Abia must ramp up HIV testing as well as other curative interventions that would lead to eradication of the scourge, and further stated that the state would mobilize all the necessary platforms in other to beat the eighteen months deadline given by the team as target to bring HIV/AIDS under control in the state.
The Governor appealed to the US delegation to continue to support Abia in its quest to win the war against the disease, and appreciated the team for returning to the state in the area of health after some years of inactivity.
Ikpeazu, who also used the medium to hint on the intervention of his administration in health sector in the state which includes, the tele-health initiative, geriatric outreach and mother & Child hospital etc, which would be commissioned soon among other interventions.
The number one citizen of Abia state, further assured the US delegation that he will personally lead the advocacy campaigns to support both the curative and behavioral change components of the fight.
Speaking earlier during the visit, the US Deputy Chief of Mission, Mrs Kathleen Fitzgibbon said that they were in Nigeria, partnering the Federal and State Governments in pulling resources together towards reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the county as the infective disease 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.
US deputy Chief of Mission, however thanked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for the quick approval foRa 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 Abia State government.
On his part, the Director General NACA, Dr. Aliyu Gambo, disclosed that Abia has remained one of the strategic partners of the Federal Government in the fight against HIV/AIDS, lauded the state government for its consistence in the payment of counterpart funding.
Gambo further 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.