By Martins Ifijeh
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has commended the Bayelsa State Government for establishing an AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Research Centre. The Director General of the Agency, Dr. Sani Aliyu, gave the commendation at the inauguration of the facility last week.
“The prevalent rate for Bayelsa is 3.8 per cent based on the survey we have conducted in 2014; the health facility provided by the governor is a life saving edifice. We will continue to partner with them in ensuring that the people in Bayelsa are completely HIV free,’’ Aliyu said
As part of strategies to boost HIV intervention in the state, the NACA DG solicited Governor Dickson’s cooperation to include HIV/AIDS treatment as part of the state health insurance scheme package and provision of free antenatal care for pregnant women in the state.
He also urged the state to facilitate the payment of 45 million naira World Bank counterpart funds to facilitate HIV intervention.
Dickson acceded to all the three prayers made by NACA and promised to release the counterpart funds to the World Bank immediately, and also work out modalities to implement other requests in order to eradicate HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in the state.
The Bayelsa governor expressed gratitude to Aliyu for honouring the invitation even at short notice.
He disclosed that the state would soon sign a Primary Health Care Act to accelerate healthcare services. “We have finished plans to sign the Bill for the establishment of the State Primary Healthcare Agency into law,’’ Dickson said.
Meanwhile the Director General, Bayelsa State Agency for the Control of AIDS emphasised that continuous provision of antiretroviral drugs is very important if people who have tested positive of HIV are to be treated immediately .He also stressed the vicissitude of ownership and sustainability of the HIV programme in-country. He also insisted that advocacy is a prerequisite in the success of the programme in Bayelsa State and the country.