Stakeholders search for HIV/AIDS test kits in Cross River

Stakeholders in Cross River State have called for more HIV test kits to bolster the fight against the disease as they are lacking in public health facilities in the state.

They made the call in Calabar last weekend at the State Management Team Meeting hosted by the State AIDS Control Agency and supported by the Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme .

During the meeting, the Public Health Director of the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Dr Jonah Bassey Offor, who represented the Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Iwara Iwara, said that the lack of HIV test kits was one of the challenges facing the fight. against HIV/AIDS.

According to him, “Testing kits used in the state are provided by implementing partners with assistance from the Cross River State Government over time. Now there has been a shortage of these test kits.

“Cross River State Department of Health will meet with implementing partners to see how test kits will be made available as soon as possible.

“The partners told us that the HIV prevalence rate in Cross River State is 2% which is quite encouraging, which means that the partners are doing a lot to reduce HIV in the state.

He added, “Partners are working with the Cross River State Department of Health and for us to have a 2% prevalence rate even though we are surrounded by states that have a very high prevalence rate. high tells you that we are doing a lot in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the state.

Regarding the influx of visitors during the upcoming carnival and the impact this would have on a possible spread of the disease, he said, “The Cross River State Government and the Ministry of Health are well equipped to control any population that will enter the state as concerns the spread of HIV in the sense that they have well trained health workers. They have been equipped for this task throughout the state. Hopefully, before the start of the carnival in December, the issue of lack test kits will be settled. »

SACA Community Mobilization Manager Ifere Obeten said, “There is a need for the private sector to be involved in the response and a committee has been formed to ensure they fill this gap. We are striving to achieve zero percent prevalence in Cross River State.

“We will ensure that test kits are available during Carnival. There will be activities to let people know their HIV status. Condoms will also be available and other measures will be put in place to ensure they do not have unprotected sex.
At the Christmas Village, efforts will be made to install test points there. Even along the roads there will be mobile test units performing services. We are now testing and treating those who test positive. »

Cross River Technical Working Group Chair Dr MacFarlane Eja has called for a declaration of a state of emergency due to the lack of HIV test kits, adding that it is an emergency of public health.

Mr Umanah Joe of ECEWS said progress has been made in setting up facilities to accelerate HIV control and prevention in the state.

UN agencies and other partners highlighted their achievements such as viral load suppression, number of tests performed, challenges and their goals.

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