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World AIDS Day: Obaseki Urges Youths, Govts, Others To Sustain Gains on Fight Against HIV/AIDS

…pledges to reduce spread, inaugurates governing board for SACA 

By Lucky Isibor

The Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has called on youths, governments, healthcare workers and researchers to sustain the campaign to rid the world of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

Obaseki made the call on the occasion of the commemoration of the World Aids Day, December 1, every year, set aside by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to create awareness on the dangers posed by HIV/AIDS.

He said it was encouraging that the consensus to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS has yielded appreciable success over the years, and urged all not to relent but push to end the spread.

Pledging his administration’s readiness to reduce the prevalence of the disease in Edo State on Thursday, from the about 4.1 prevalence rate to below the national average of 3.1, Obaseki tasked the Governing Board of the Edo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA), during its inauguration at the Government House in Benin, to spread the awareness to every home.

“The inauguration of the Governing Board for SACA would aid the state government achieve her goal to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDs as well as provide support to persons living with the disease, including those vulnerable and affected by the epidemic.”

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Obaseki charged the newly inaugurated board to develop strategy aimed at enhancing collaborations between local and international donors and agencies towards tackling AIDS pandemic, periodic review of state strategic plan on prevention and control of AIDS as well as financial and operative procedures.

On World AIDS Day, the governor said that the theme for 2017, Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability and Partnership is essential to sustaining the gains recorded so far, urging for “renewed commitment by government, researchers and other stakeholders to continue in the drive as it was evident that the strategy adopted has made tangible impact in stemming the spread of the virus.”

According to him, “Edo State is improving the healthcare system to provide quality and affordable health care services to all her people, as measures to tackle threat of epidemics, including HIV/AIDs.

“We have a mandate on basic and primary healthcare as a government. But added to that is the focus on preventive health care. This ensures that the state taps from resources provided by the Federal government and development agencies to provide services to people living with HIV/AIDs, and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic,” he said.

While assuring of the state government’s commitment to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UCH) by the year 2030, which is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN), Governor Obaseki said the state health policies are aimed at promoting preventive health care to stem the spread of HIV/AIDs.

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He added that his administration will replicate the success recorded with malaria and polio campaign, in carrying out campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDs.

According to WHO, the global World AIDS Day 2017 campaign is marked to promote the theme “Right to Health,” to highlight the need for all 3.7 million people living with HIV across the globe, who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to access safe, effective, quality and affordable health care.

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