Chairman of Bodo Council of Chiefs and Elders, Mene Sylvester Kogbara has lamented the non-availability of HIV/AIDS drugs in Gokana Local Government area, of the state.
Mene Kogbara, who stated this during a one-day advocacy meeting with traditional rulers and Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairmen in the LGA, said no HIV/AIDS drugs are available in all the health centres and General Hospitals in the area.
“We have a total of 16 health centres in 17 communities of Gokana and two General Hospitals situated in Terabor and Bodo, but none of them has Anti-retroviral drugs”, he said.
While stating that he is aware of the state government’s efforts under Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi to develop health facilities in the state, he urged the government to go beyond building infrastructure in the sector and equip the hospitals and health centres.
In addition, he said “necessary drugs for HIV/AIDS need to be made available regularly for people living with the dreaded disease.
Mene Kogbara also used the forum to call on the state government to institute a monitoring mechanism to identify HIV positive mothers.
“This is becase it has been found that most pregnant mothers don’t go to the hospital to access treatment after they have been diagnoised of HIV/AIDS”, he said.
On his part, the medical officer in-charge of the General Hospital in Terabor, Dr. Ndii L. Dimkpa, also noted that since his assumption of office in the hospital three years ago, HIV/AIDS drugs have not been available.
Dr. Dimkpa explained that in addition to the non-availability of HIV/AIDS drugs, most people in Gokana are either ignorant or refused to accept the existence of HIV/AIDS.
“Consequently, even when they are diagnosed of HIV/AIDS, they go back home and do nothing about it until it becomes serious.
“Unfortunately, at this point, very little can be done for them to address the situation”, he said.
In his speech, the Executive Director of the Rivers State Agency for the Control of AIDS (RIVSACA), Dr. Chimeizi Okeh urged participants at the meeting to “take the meeting seriously,”, saying that they would be the ones to spearhead the enlightenment campaign in the area to check the trend of HIV/AIDS.
“You should listen attentively so that you can understand the intricacies of HIV/AIDS, so you will be in a good stead to educate members of your various communities,” he stressed.