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Benue Targets 2030 To End HIV/AIDS Pandemic

by editor

Benue State governor Hyacinth Alia said with the help of the United States (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through APIN Public Health Initiatives, the HIV/AIDS pandemic will be contained in the state.

Before now, the disease was a significant cause of death with severe socioeconomic impacts on several communities in Benue.

However, the pandemic has been transformed into a managed chronic disease, with Benue at the threshold of meeting the global target of ending the HIV pandemic by 2030.

Governor Alia spoke at the inauguration of a Molecular Laboratory and a Polymerase llChain Reaction machine donated by the United States Centre for Disease Control (US -CDC) to the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Makurdi.

He said their support and partnership with the state government had helped in placing over 180,000 HIV/Aids patients on a life-saving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) across 264 health facilities as well as private and faith-based facilities across 23 local government areas in the state.

The governor said this has remarkably closed the HIV unmet treatment needs and has placed the state on the path to HIV epidemic control.

According to him, “the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programme for pregnant-positive women in the state has made it possible for the birth of about 8,000 HIV-negative babies annually, providing a window of hope for an HIV-free generation.

While commending APIN for their support to the State, Governor Alia enumerated some of their support to the state, including the provision of a full complement of equipment for Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to provide sustainable access to affordable and timely supplies of safe and quality-assured blood and blood products to Benue citizens.

In his reaction, the Chief Executive Officer of APIN Public Health Initiative, Dr Prosper Okonkwo, thanked the US CDC and the state government for their support in establishing the Lab, which will go a long way toward achieving an HIV-free generation.

“Provision of cervical cancer screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions among women, especially those living with HIV, through the provision of thermal ablation machines to 25 health facilities and capacity building of service providers, training of about 800 health workers in various fields among other supports,” he said.

In his welcome address, the chief medical director, Prof. Joseph Kortor, said that the donation of the machine was a milestone that marked a significant step forward in the state’s commitment to enhancing healthcare services and boosting their capacity to combat infectious diseases.

Presenting the laboratory accreditation certificate number ISO15189:2012 to the MD of FMC, the acting country director of US CDC-Nigeria, Suzanne Theroux, called on the staff members to put the laboratory to its maximum use to nip in the bud the outbreak and spread of viral diseases.

Source: https://leadership.ng/benue-targets-2030-to-end-hiv-aids-pandemic/

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