Gov. Ayade restates commitment towards AIDS eradication in C’River
Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade, has restated his administration’s commitment towards eradicating the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the State.
Governor Ayade, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hon. Martins Orim, made the commitment at the event of the 2019 World AIDS Day, held at Calabar Municipal Council Headquarters, Calabar.
Speaking further, the State number one citizen said: “As government, we will give every support that is needed to ensure the eradication of HIV/AIDS in our society.”
“Part of the fight against AIDS is to create a healthy living among our people. In doing that, this administration is embarking on a policy drive that would provide food on the table for every family in Cross River State. All effort is to eradicate poverty, which is one of the strongest factors to fighting AIDS in our communities,” he added.
The proactive governor pointed out that it is in the light of the above, that his administration is creating an agro-industrialization revolution called green economy, while encouraging all to embrace agriculture as the new money-spinner amid dwindling global oil prices.
With the health sector taking a chunk of the 2020 Budget, making provisions for the completion of the referral hospitals in each of the Senatorial Districts of the State, Governor Ayade said, highlight the premium his administration attaches to the health and wellbeing of its citizens.
The Governor concluded by adjuring the people of the State to replace ‘stigmatization’ with ‘sensitization,’ noting that a lot still needs to be done in a bid to stem the tide of AIDS in the State.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Bassey, in line with this year’s World AIDS Day theme, “Communities make the Difference,” enjoined the Government and relevant stakeholders to not renege on the resolve to eradicate AIDS, by going in all the nooks and crannies of the State, sensitizing the masses against the deadly disease.
He thanked the Ayade-led administration for allocating the highest amount in the 2020 Budget to the Health Sector, ensuring that by next year, with the renewed efforts of stakeholders, the prevalence rate of AIDS will drop even further.
In her welcome address, the Director also Administration, Cross River State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA), Mrs. Uduak Emmanuel Bassey, stated that for the fact the State has witnessed a massive decline of 6.6% to 2.0% in the prevalence rate of AIDS, Cross Riverians must not rest in their oars in ensuring that the scourge is brought to the barest, if not completely eradicated.
She thanked the Ayade-led administration for working assiduously with other relevant agencies to combat HIV/AIDS.
The administrator called on government to increase SACA’s funding in order to continue with a meaningful fight against HIV/AIDS.
She enjoined Cross Riverians to shun stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and intensify awareness creation on counselling, testing, prevention, abstinence and mutual fidelity in relationship.
The event also featured prize presentation to winners of the Secondary School Race in commemoration of the World AIDS Day.
In a separate development, the Governor also officially unveiled the Christmas Village in Calabar Municipality, which would host 31 days of a potpourri of festive activities.