PhotoNews: Benue state Govt Launches Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS on World Aids Day

Benue State today joined the rest of the world in celebrating the World AIDS Day with a call on individuals, families and corporate organisations to join hands and efforts with government in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Benue state for an AIDS free society and generation.

Governor Samuel Ortom, represented by his deputy, Engr Benson Abounu made the call at Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) square, Makurdi, venue of this year’s event. He renewed his government plans to sustain the collaboration with development partners to strengthen not only HIV/AIDS programme in the state but health care services in general.Governor Ortom who launched two documents – “Benue state Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS, 2017 – 2021” and “National HIV Fast Track Plan – An emergency Plan of Action Towards Achieving the 90-90-90 Target by 2020” commended the strategic efforts of the Benue State Agency For Control of AIDS (BENSACA ) led by Dr. Gideon Dura, the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency For Control of AIDS (NACA), donor agencies, the implementing partners in the war against HIV/AIDS and the health delivery programmes of his wife through her Eunice Spring of Life Foundation.He disclosed that the Benue state Strategic Plan which provides direction for implementation of HIV programmes for the next 5 years is aligned with the policy thrust of the health priority component of the state Development Plan (2016 -2025) and is geared to drive the state’s efforts at providing effective, quality, gender – responsive and rights based HIV prevention for all.

He stated that this year’s theme, ” Right to Health – Making it happen ” tallies with his administration’s core belief that health is not a charity or privilege of a few but a right for all; accessible, acceptable, available and of good quality for everyone, leaving no one behind.The World AIDS Day is a day set aside globally to create awareness about HIV/AIDS for the purpose of prevention, treatment and care of HIV/AIDS. It is also a day to unite in the fight against HIV and show solidarity with people living with HIV,. The day is also used to review progress made and constraints faced in the fight against HIV.

The Executive Secretary, BENSACA, Dr. Gideon Dura who said the spread of the HIV epidemic has seriously affected the population, causing declining productivity, disruption of families, over stretched health care services, arising weak human capital and increasing morbidity and mortality, called for attitudinal change to prevent new infection and re-infection.He disclosed that the prevalence rate has gone up in the state and said the increase may be attributed to improvement in survival rate among people living with HIV/AIDS due to increased access to ART from the scale- up programmes.

There were goodwill messages from various partners as well as the Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Cecilia Ojabor who emphasised that the State government is committed to fulfilling her obligations by paying key attention to the health sector and the passage of the anti-discrimination law to protect and promote the right to health of all persons living with HIV/AIDS in the state.

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