The Rivers State Government has charged its citizenry to be advocates of HIV/AIDS control in their various localities as part of preventive measures towards eradicating the ailment by 2030.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Adaeze C. Oreh, who made the call in her World AIDS Day broadcast, recently, said this is one way to enhance the efforts of the State Government in its quest to ensure a HIV Free State.
“I urge you to be an advocate for HIV control in your various communities: know your status today; do not stigmatize infected persons; pregnant women should endeavour to register at the health facility nearest to them for antenatal care.
“Let us support Government control programmes for more control successes”, she stated.
In the WAD broadcast, the Commissioner noted that in spite of concerted global efforts aimed at checking the trend of HIV infection, the ailment has remained a source for concern, even in Rivers State, requiring more commitment in order to end its existence by 2030, noting that Rivers State is one of the identified areas with high prevalence.
“Despite the successes recorded in the control of HIV/AIDS, the disease still has global presence, making the World AIDS Day remains as relevant today as it has always been even as we mark the 35th commemoration.
“Therefore, the need to increase awareness of the impact of HIV on people’s lives, end stigma and improve the quality of life of people living with HIV cannot be over-emphasized.
“The control of the virus has remained a critical factor in ensuring a healthy population, and is indeed contributory to determining life expectancy in many countries.
“Like most cosmopolitan cities in the country, Rivers State, is among the high prevalence States for HIV infection in the country in the past two decades.
“The 2018 National AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey conducted across the country by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and Maryland University, USA, places Rivers State at 3rd position in the country with a prevalence value of 3.8 after Akwa Ibom and Benue States.
”Although, this represents a drop from the previous value of 15.2% prevalence in 2010, the large number of estimated People Living with HIVs (PLHIVs) requires humongous effort to achieve epidemic control, technically referred to as 95-95-95 targets of year 2030.
“Presently in the State, it is estimated that 95% of People Living with HIV are aware of their HIV status, 98% are on treatment and 87% are virally suppressed and are receiving treatment in about 116 health facilities across the State, inclusive of public, private as well as primary, secondary and the tertiary treatment sites as a result of the efforts to achieve epidemic control”, the Commissioner said.
This year’s theme, “Communities: Leadership to End AIDS by 2030”, she continued, “draws attention to People living or affected with HIV/AIDS and groups that are at increased risk of HIV transmission.
“We recognize that communities play important roles in the HIV response in terms of rendering services, creating demand, reaching people with services difficult to reach with formal health service, resourcing, providing leadership and changing social attitudes in order to promote equal access to care.
“We are also concerned about the persons who are yet to know their status, who are stigmatized or have suffered disabilities as a result of the epidemic”.
Consequently, she said, “the State is committed to improving the quality of lives for Persons Living with the virus by guaranteeing access to care and good quality health services comparable to international best standards.
“The State AIDS/STIs Control Programme, in conjunction with its supporting partners, have continued massive voluntary community testing campaigns across the State with innovative retention strategies for meeting the targets of HIV elimination.
“As part of on-going programs and highlights for the World AIDS day commemoration, the State AIDS & STIs Control Programme, in collaboration with its supporting partners, have already embarked on massive case finding and linkage to care of identified positives in all the Local Government Areas.
“These are clear indications of our commitment to improving access to health services for HIV, and ultimately improving patient outcome.
“Patients are receiving quality care without stigma in convenience and ambience of confidentiality, and also living happier lives as evident with the recent commissioning of the Kelsey Harrison Hospital and the Maxillofacial and Dental Hospitals in Port-Harcourt by His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, GSSRS.
“We acknowledge the collaborative assistance of the United States Centre for Disease Control, the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria, UNICEF, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the media and other members of the Health Sector Control Team in the on-going control process”.
World AIDS Day, the Cmmissioner further stated, “is a day devoted to awareness creation, advocacy, and sensitization for consolidation of the on-going HIV/AIDS control programme. As usual, it brings together various stake-holders and partners who are engaged in the control of HIV epidemic worldwide”.
By: Sogbeba Dokubo
New Book, ‘Spiritual Instructions’ Launched In Rivers Community
A new Christian book, ‘Spiritual Instructions’ was successfully launched on Sunday, February 25, 2024 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem Community in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The writer of the book and Music Director of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Catechist Cornelius Chinedu Iroegbu used the opportunity to thank God profusely for the unveiling of the new package, which he said has the capacity of providing solutions to mankind’s numerous spiritual, financial and health problems, among others.
The book launch, which attracted people from all walks of life was chaired by an illustrious son of Etche ethnic nationality, Chief Promise Akpasobe while the chief launcher was Mr Obinna Nwachukwu.
Very articulate Sir Austin Amaechi reviewed the book while the royal father of the day was Chief Bartholomew Onwuli.
A freelance journalist, simply addressed as Mr Julius excellently anchored the programme whereas the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Rev Father Paul Iroulor served as the spiritual father of the day, as he ensured that everything was functionally in place for the ceremony.
Incidentally, the book got special endorsements from highly placed men of God in the State and the wider society including no less a personality than the Auxiliary Bishop of Port Harcourt Diocese of the Catholic Church, Most Rev (Dr) Patrick Eluke whose imprimatur is contained in the book; Rev Father (Dr) Tochi Theo Nwosu, who wrote the foreword of the book; and Rev Father ( Dr) Sixtus Chikwe of the Port Harcourt Diocese, who artistically wrote the preface.
Speaking shortly after the book launch, the author, Catechist Cornelius Iroegbu said in an interview that God inspired him through the Holy Spirit to write the book on discovering that a lot of people were growing cold in their faith.
On discovering that, he said as somebody called by God, he had prayed more to God for a solution, particularly against the backdrop that the world also was satanically deranged.
According to him, God had equipped him through the Holy Spirit with strength, knowledge and inspiration on a daily basis to write the book.
Iroegbu, who is popularly known as Ntuoyi disclosed that it took him over three years to put together the book, which he described as a manual for people’s lives and essentially for people who want to grow spiritually and those who want to know God and get solutions for their spiritual, financial and health problems.
The Catechist of St Michael’s Catholic Church, Abara Etche further indicated that the book is capable of providing solutions to people’s spiritual, financial and health challenges, among others.
“There is no problem this book is not capable of providing solutions to”, he said, hinting that his target is to reach out to the entire world, to both Christians and non-Christians, saying, “It is good that people who do not know Christ would know Him through this book so that we all should be happy”.
He said the book is deliberately laced with Biblical quotations to demonstrate the power of God through the Scriptures and how it works.
Iroegbu expressed gratitude to the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Rev Father Paul Iroulor for his moral and spiritual support, particularly in ensuring that the book was successfully launched in his parish, describing him as a good father to all and a lover of all.
He also commended his father, Elder Raymond Nwairoegbu Amaechi for being physically present during the book launch, and assured that he would churn out many other books to truly make him proud.
On his part, the Parish Priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Umuechem, Rev Father Paul Iroulor narrated how he first met the writer over 10 years ago at a filling station and encouraged him to start a youth devotion in the area, with the aim of evangelising Etche by being more involved and devoted to the things of God.
The cleric described Iroegbu as a hard working and committed servant of God, who is deeply involved in his spiritual life, and admonished the people of the area to toe the path of God and hold Him firmly as the writer had done.
A parishioner, Dame Benedicta Eze Nwala, who was visibly elated over the accomplishments of the writer, praised him for making his community proud, and expressed optimism that in the nearest future, the church would boast of a league of writers.
An indigene of the community, Mr Eddy Enoch described the writer as a brother, and enjoined the people to continue to support the author with their prayers.
The reviewer of the book, Sir Austin Amaechi expressed delight that the book has the imprimatur of a renowned man of God, whom he described as a friend, Most Rev(Dr) Patrick Eluke, saying, “It is to tell you that the book has gone through the crucibles of the Catholic vehemence of denouncing heresy and apostasy”.
According to him, the writer presented the materials to the world in such a way that the entire package is self-explanatory.”
“This book is simple to read, Ntuoyi made it easy for its readers in 11 Chapters, prudently presented in 62 pages as the font is sizeable to accommodate all visual shades of readers.The cover page is pictorially evident as we see the Master, minister to a rapt-attention audience. The sentence and grammatical patterns are simple and cheap. Therefore, making every chapter easily readable and understandable,” he said.
Rev Father(Dr) Sixtus Chikwe, in the preface, said the book is a momentous text for spiritual revival and re-awakening of God’s people, as the author writes for God’s spiritual revival and re-awakening of God’s pilgrim people.
He further underlined the fact that “reading through the work, one cannot but agree with the writer that the ways of the spirit are ineffable and patently inscrutable. Yet, nudged by an abiding docility to God’s ways, anchored on a healthy life of prayer and virtuous living, they are not after all, incomprehensible to the humble, faithful and desirous soul”.
This is why, he noted, the writer’s exhortation that the faithful need to adopt a more pliable, malleable disposition to the diverse manifestations of God’s ways, including in adversities or unfortunate twists in life’s ways is commendable.
According to him, “the faithful discipline is never alone through the rigors of life. Though high the billows of life’s storms or deep their reaches, the Divine is always nearby to intervene at the most divinely auspicious moment for the focused.”
Little wonder, the erudite cleric intoned, “So why quake while the master still rides closely by you in the boats of life? Enduring faithfulness to God, therefore, is vital for weathering through the fleeting storms of earthly pilgrimage”.
This, indeed, appears to be what ‘Spiritual Instructions’ is all about.
Hardship: Elder Statesman Urges Niger Deltans To Shun Protests
As hunger, poverty and hardship apparently ravage several families across the country coupled with pockets of protests going on in several parts of the country against the scourge, an elder statesman in Rivers State and minority rights activist in the Niger Delta region, Rev Sokari Soberekon, has advised the people of the Niger Delta to resist the temptation of joining the protests but should rather focus on the issues of marginalisation and oppression meted out on them by the majority ethnic groups in the country.
Soberekon, who gave the charge in an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, said there was no need for the people of the Niger Delta to join the protests, as they have over the years been victims of marginalisation and oppression meted out on them by people he described as belonging to the majority ethnic groups in the country.
He said the three major tribes of Yoruba, Hausa/ Fulani and Igbo have continued to hold the people of the Niger Delta hostage, with government policies and programmes that tend to further enslave and impoverish them, adding that the people of the Niger Delta have not benefitted maximally from their God-given oil and gas resources.
Soberekon, therefore, urged Nigerians and other people of goodwill to rather face the realities of the embattled economically, politically and deprived people of the Niger Delta instead of cajoling them to protest against the current hardship in the country.
“We should not allow our contemporary WAZOBIA ethnic groups to cajole us to lose focus on the topical and salient issue bothering the Niger Deltans,” he pleaded.
According to him, “the majority tribes have demonstrated arrant complacency and swishy tendencies and insensitivity over the plight of the Niger Delta without demonstration of solidarity.”
He, however, enjoined the people of the Niger Delta region to support the good intentions of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and its Renewed Hope agenda, in its bid to get the country out of the woods.
Court Resolves Oro-Ogoloma Rumueme Family Matter
Some members of Oro-Ogoloma family in Rumueme Kingdom heaved some sigh of relief on Monday when a Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Promise Iroanya resolved a five year defamation matter among them.
Some members of the family had five years ago petitioned the police over a case of embezzlement labeled on some of the family members to the tune of N5.5million proceeds from their property.
The matter had dragged on and subsequently was charged to court over five counts of defamation of character, conspiracy, false information and breach of public peace.
The Chief Magistrate while delivering judgment on the matter acquitted the second defendant of the charges and awarded a compensation of N500,000 to him.
Speaking to newsmen after the judgment, Chairman of the Oro- Ogoloma Descendants Council, PromiseNduka Dickman hailed the court for vindicating him.
He said the court has shown that it is the hope of the common man, as he was wrongly accused by the petitioners for embezzling family money, even after the petitioners were partakers of the proceeds from the property.
Dickman while condemning the act of the petitioners and members of the family observed that the matter would have been settled in-house, if not for the insistence of the petitioners who sought police intervention.
On his part, the police prosecutor for Chief Magistrate Court 1, Assistant Superintendent of Police Zacheaus Mbah said he was satisfied with the outcome of the court process.
He recalled that the matter started in 2019 and has ended victoriously,” on Count 3, the court exonerated the second defendant that he did not make any publication in writing.”
Mbah said the victory stem from the evidence they provided to the court for the verdict.
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