The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has inaugurated its new zonal office in the South-south geopolitical zone.
Governor Emmanuel Udom of Akwa-Ibom State performed the inaugural ceremony at the agency’s rented office building, located on 62, Obio Imo Road, Uyo, the state capital recently.
The Commissioner for Health, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Dominic Ukpong who represented the governor, said the decision to locate the office in Uyo was an attestation to his administration’s commitment to boost quality healthcare. “My objective of quality healthcare delivery remains steadfast,” the governor assured.
He also assured the Director-General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu that his state would maintain a cordial working relationship with the agency to stop the spread of AIDS in Akwa Ibom State.
The new office will now serve as the agency’s centre to coordinate HIV/AIDS response in all the South-south geopolitical states comprising Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Cross-Rivers.
Speaking at the occasion, Aliyu said the need to decentralize the activities of the agency was to boost campaigns at the grassroots, which will ensure efficient service provision and help reduce the spread of HIV by 2030.
”We need to have zonal arrangements to translate HIV/AIDS information (data from NAIIS) to action,” the DG said.”
With the success recorded during NAIIS) last year, the opening of the zonal offices in the six geopolitical regions of Nigeria is an opportunity to bring the various interventions closer to the grassroots. This will help close the already identified gaps and sustain the NAIIS success at the various state agencies for the control of AIDS (SACAs).
Aliyu stressed that numbers do not mean anything if persons living with HIV/AIDS are put on drugs.
In their separate goodwill messages, representatives from the United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), FHI360, and Bayelsa, Edo, Rivers and Cross Rivers SACAs, restated NACA’S commitment to national HIV/AIDS coordination.
They agreed that such commitment to investments in the pandemic in Nigeria has further strengthened strategies and efficiency in service delivery in line with the agency’s mandate.
On her part, Coordinator of the Agency in the zone, Dr. Uduak Daniel stressed that the zonal office will enhance coordination of HIV/AIDS activities of NACA in the zone.
Meanwhile, NACA is on the process of setting up five (5) other zonal offices in Gombe (North-East), Lagos (South-West), Abia (South-East), Nasarawa (North-Central) and Kano (North-West).