Calabar, July 29, 2020 The Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu, says limited domestic financing to HIV response has affected the pace in addressing gaps in its care in the state.
Esu made the disclosure at the inauguration of the reconstituted State Management Team (SMT) in Calabar on Monday.
Represented by Dr Betta Edu, Cross River Commissioner for Health, Esu said that in spite of the progress made, the prevalence rate in Cross River stands at two per cent above the national average of 1.4 per cent.
He said that the state had taken a bold step in identifying the challenges and the pragmatic policies of the state government was injecting the necessary momentum towards addressing such challenges.
“The epidemic in Nigeria has had far reaching social and economic impact on the citizens which raises concerns for my administration.
“There is no better time in our history than in this trying period to make significant impact on the State HIV response through a conscious effort to mitigate the noted challenges preventing Nigeria from halting and beginning a reversal of the pandemic.
“Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) four, five and six; the elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and attainment of 50 per cent domestic financing of the HIV response is a renewed commitment of this administration.
“I use this medium to call on the political class to see the achievement of a free generation in Nigeria as a befitting legacy we can leave behind for the residents of this great state,” he said.
In her remark, Edu said the SMT was part of National Coordination architecture established at the outset of the Presidential Comprehensive Response Plan (PCRP) for HIV, to provide a high level coordination platform to drive HIV response in the state.
According to Edu, as part of the efforts to reposition the country to achieve greater success in the HIV response and leverage on other opportunities to expand health care services, five states in Nigeria including Cross River are selected to be sub recipients of the Global Fund (GF).
“A major activity resulting from this selection is the need to strengthen the institutional capacities of these states to effectively deliver on the GF grant.
“The State Management Team which is being inaugurated today is expected to provide a strong policy support and direction for effective coordination of health sector HIV response,” she said.
Also speaking at the inauguration, Dr Etcheri Ansa, Director General, State Agency for Control of Aids (SACA) thanked the state government and its partners for their efforts, urging them not to rest on their oars as Cross River was surrounded by states with high prevalence rate.
Some of the Non-governmental Agencies partnering the state government include the Excellent Community Education Welfare Scheme (ECEWS), United Nations Funds for Population Activities (UNFPA), FHI 360 and others.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)