Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, currently has
the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the State with 19.8 per cent.
The Executive Director, Rivers State Agency for the Control
of AIDS (RIVSACA), Dr Chimezie Okeh stated this yesterday during the first
stakeholders forum on HIV/AIDS in the local government area.
Dr Okeh, who stated this in his presentation at the
occasion, also noted that Asari-Toru LGA was the least in prevalence with 1.9
per cent, followed by Ogu/Bolo LGA with 1.9 per cent.
He stated that like Rivers State which has a prevalence rate
of 6.0 per cent, higher than the
nation’s 4.1 per cent, 13 of the 23 LGAs in the state also have
prevalence rate above the national status with Gokana, Oyigbo, Ahoada East,
Etche, Khana and Port Harcourt City Local Government Area leading the pack.
The RIVSACA boss further revealed that the increase was as a
result of several factors which include low patronage of antenatal care
According to Okeh, a survey carried out in 2010 revealed
that out of 523 women who attended antenatal care services in the general
hospital, none delivered in the hospital.
In 2011, out of 993 who attended antenatal in the hospital,
only 22 returned to deliver in the hospital, while so far in 2012, only 10 had
come to deliver out of 1,063 who had been attending anrenatal services the
hospital, Dr Okeh revealed.
In his presentation, the Director, HIV Prevention, RIVSACA,
Dr Naziga Francis identified the cause of the epidemic in Gokana to include.
multiple concurrent sexual partners, lack of sexually transmitted infection
(STI) services and cultural factors.
Others, he said, are cultural norms that encourage men to
have multiple sexual partners, widowhood practices as well as sirah” culture
which does not allow first female children to be married even when they can
While reacting to the increase in the prevalence’s rate of
HIV/AIDS in Gokana, the Senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District,
Senator Magnus Abe, placed the blame on the doorstep of the council leadership
for not giving adequate attention to issues concerning HIV/AIDS.
Senator Abe urged the leadership of the LGA to immediately
come up with a strategy to massively mobilise and sensitise people of the LGA
on HIV/AIDS, and promised to personally lead the campaign.
Chairman of the Local Government Council, Hon Demua Ledee
Demua assured of his readiness to aggressively carry out programmes that would
check the trend.