Not fewer than 210,000 persons are currently living with the dreaded HIV/AIDS in Rivers State, so says the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDCP).
A delegation by the centre, which paid a courtesy visit to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, also revealed that about 40,000 HIV/AIDS infected persons are already on anti-retroviral treatment in the state.
Head of the delegation, Dr Tedd Ellerbrock, who disclosed these, said the figures were from a survey carried out on HIV/AIDS cases in the state.
He stated that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was launching a new programme where 110,000 infected persons would be placed on anti-retroviral treatment to stem the spread of the disease and ensure the control of the epidemic.
Ellerbrock appealed to the Rivers State Government to take-over the payment of user-fees for persons with HIV/AIDS who want anti-retroviral treatment.
“The US Government is funding the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria in this effort. The US Government will be deeply involved in all the 23 local government areas in Rivers State.
“We will appreciate if you will help us with the user-fees. We have found out that if there are user-fees, people are discouraged from coming forward to seek treatment.
“We are providing the anti-retroviral drugs and the US Government is paying for the programme”, he added.
In his response, the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, commended the efforts of the US Government, and assured that the government would partner with the US Government initiative to make the programme a success in the state.
He announced the immediate abolition of payment of user-fees for persons living with HIV/AIDS who desire to access treatment in health facilities owned by the state.
Wike said that the state government would take over the payment of the user-fees to encourage more infected Rivers people to seek treatment for HIV/AIDS.
“We will stop all fees collected as user-fees for persons under the HIV/AIDS Treatment Programme. This is our contribution to the partnership with the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We will take over the payment of user-fees for the public health facilities in the state.
“The deputy governor will be in charge of the programme since she is a medical doctor. We are committed to working with the US Government to ensure we tackle the disease”, Wike assured.
The governor said that the state government would support the efforts of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria in the programme against HIV/AIDS.
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One Year Anniversary: Governor Wike Sues For Unity
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on Rivers people no matter their political affiliation to join hands with his administration to build a stable and vibrant economy.
In a state-wide broadcast to mark the first year of his second term in office today, Governor Wike noted that the state can overcome the present global economic situation if citizens come together in unity of thought and purpose.
“Yes, we can if we resolve to downplay our individual differences and work together for the common good of our heritage, our lovely State, our communities and our people. As a government, we welcome constructive criticisms devoid of politics and mischief, because they serve to make us better performers.
“This is a time for governance, not politics, and we welcome everyone on board to create an environment that promotes balanced economic growth, thriving private investments, boundless opportunity and a State we can truly call our pride and heritage.
“For us, nothing matters more than Rivers State, our people, our interests, our treasures, our enormous resources and assets, our accomplishments and our greatness,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that within the last one year, his administration had embarked on urban renewal programme in the State capital and the construction of the multi-billion naira three flyover projects at Rebisi, Okoro-nu-Odo and Rumuogba.
He said that the dualization of Kira- Sapkenwa-Bori-Kono Road straddling three local government areas in Ogoni heartland has reached 92 percent completion.
The Oyibo(Mbano camp) road to Iriebe linking Oyigbo and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas had been completed while Alesa-Agbonchia-Oyigbo, Rumuakunde/Isiodu and the second phase of Isiokpo community Roads had also been completed.
Rumuji-Ibaa-Isiokpo, Omoku-Egbema, Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye, Ula Ehuda-Odioku-Anwunugboko-Ubeta-Ihuechi-Odiereke, Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Umuelechi-Eberi, Eteo-Sime-Nonwa and Abonnema Ring Roads have reached various stages of completion.
In addition, the governor said, work has commenced on the expansion of the entire stretch of Ikwerre Road from Education Bus Stop to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
According to him, the long abandoned roads to the coastal communities of Opobo and Andoni in Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas has almost been delivered with appreciable work already done on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
On healthcare delivery, the governor said the Mother and Child Hospital has been furnished, equipped and only undergoing necessary testing and preparations for commissioning.
The Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, he said, has been fully equipped and converted to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) leading to the accreditation of the programmes of that facility for the training of medical students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Governor Wike stated that the regional referral hospitals in Degema, Bori and Degema are presently being equipped while structural work is on-going on the ones located in Omoku and Etche.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that funds had been released for comprehensive upgrade of Enitonnia High School, Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Obama High School, Degema, Community Secondary School, Tombia, Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area and Kalabari National College, Buguma.
Others include, Community Secondary School, Kugbo in Abua/Odual Local Government, Community Secondary School, Obeakpu in Oyigbo Local Government and Community Secondary School, Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area.
On Real Madrid Academy, Governor Wike announced that the construction of students’ hostels is progressing and that the school would soon open for simultaneous football and related training programmes.
He said in line with the promise to refocus on agricultural development, the Datco Cassava Processing Plant with a guaranteed off-market opportunities for 3000 local cassava farmers would soon be completed to stimulate cassava revolution in the state.
The governor regretted that despite the advisories and regulations on social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks, most residents are flouting the directives to the collective peril of all.
“These are all irresponsible and risky behaviour in the face of the invisible and ravaging pandemic and the enormous threat it poses to public health and the safety of human lives.
“We shall bring the full weight of the law to bear on every recalcitrant person, business or institution, irrespective of status who decides to treat the existing orders and regulations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our State with contempt.
“Government may be forced to reinstate lockdown if members of the public continue to flout and disregard the established regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks,” he said.
Governor Wike however, commiserated with the families of those that lost their loved ones to the pandemic and prayed for the peaceful repose of their innocent souls.
He said that while we pray for the quick success, for the global search, for vaccines, the responsibility still rests on everyone to strictly comply with the established mitigating measures.
A Statewide Broadcast By His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS, To Mark The First Year Of His Second Term In Office …My Dear Good People of Rivers State
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