Cross River ranks 5th HIV prevalent state in Nigeria


L-R: Governor of Cross River, Prof Ben Ayade (2nd); Speaker of Cross River House of Assembly, Bar  John Gaul Lebo(1st); Wife of Cross River Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade(3rd); and Commissioner of Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong(4th), yesterday in Calabar during the world AIDS Day(Photo Credit: Obaji Akpet) OBAJI AKPET|1 December 2016
HIV prevalence rate in Cross River State stands at 6.6, by implication the state is now rated 5th in Nigeria. The Governor of Cross River State, speaking at the event to mark the World AIDS Day in Calabar said for the state to be able to tackle the disease and downplay the figure in the state it was imperative to emphasize total abstenance. The wife of Cross River Governor, Dr. Linda Ayade, on her part said her non governmental organization, Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF) in partnership with other development partners of Cross River were taking up the challenge with an HIV/AIDS campaign initiative.
"Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF) in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other development partners have taken up the challenge with an HIV/AIDS campaign initiative tagged " Wise Up Cross River," the first lady added. Michael Puchercos, CEO of Lafarge Africa Plc, the main sponsor of World AIDS Day in Cross River said apart from 2.5mt cement plant valued at 500 million dollars it has invested to impact the Cross River  economy, the company was also committed to supporting health programmes in the state. Mr. Puchercos was represented by Director for Communication and Public Affairs to Lafarge Holcim,  Mrs Folashade Ambrose. According to him, "It is noteworthy that we committed about N40m to health programmes is Cross River State between 2008 and 2015, while close to N2bn has been expended on CSR initiatives/sponsorships within the period." While assuring of its willingness to continue to play their part in the existing partnership it enjoys with the state, Lafarge craved the state's continuous support in creating a safe, conducive operating environment, an aspect the company feels will engender improved performance to the delight of all stakeholders. Speaking Mr. Keneth Ehouzou, Programme Coordinator for United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Cross River urged the state government to embark on similar pageant events as Miss Africa to campaign against the scourge of HIV in the state. On her part, the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong said the state's HIV prevalence rate, which currently stands at 6.6% only became possible by the efforts in place by the current administration led by Cross River Governor Ben Ayade while calling for more consented efforts by all concern. Also speaking, the Cross River DG, Community Health, Dr. Betta Edu said the state government has positioned facilities across health centres in rural communities of the state to assist tackle the prevalence level of HIV in the state. Meanwhile, the commissioner of Education, Mr. Godwin Etta said his ministry was partnering with other useful partners with the aim of educating young people early enough about the virus. Obaji Akpet
Writes from Calabar