Abia launches strategic plan for HIV/AIDS
Following the rising prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Abia state, as discovered in 2006, the state government has adopted a strategic and multi-sectoral approach towards reversing the trends and eradicating the disease in the state through the development of State Strategic Plan (SSP) 2007-2010.
This has currently reversed the HIV/AIDS prevalence to 7.3% in the state.
However, the need to align the state HIV plan with the national plan informed the development of the new SSP in 2012 which was launched in the state in conjunction with the office of wife of the state government, Mercy Orji, Abia State Agency for the Control of AIDS (ABSACA), Ministry of Health and partner agencies with emphasis on the prevention of mother to child infection.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Orji called on pregnant women to access proper health care facilities especially during ante natal to ensure a healthy HIV free generation.
The SSP is focused on six thematic areas of prevention of new infection, treatment of HIV/AIDS and related health conditions, care and support for people infected, policy and right, advocacy, legal issues, which is geared towards enhancing and strengthening the on-going multi-sectoral prevention and control activities.
According to Mrs Orji, the state government has established outlets in the three senatorial zones for treatment, access and testing.
She said poverty, unprotected sexual habits and lack of awareness had contributed to spread of the HIV/AIDS and therefore advocates the need for intensive awareness and sensitisation campaigns.
Although, the review of the SSP 2006-2010 revealed some apparent achievements which include resource mobilization and utilization, increased behavioural change communication interventions, however, Commissioner for Health, Dr Okechukwu Ogah said that the implementation of SSP 2010-2015, by the state government would ensure that the disease is, if possible completely eradicated in the state.
According to ABSACA’s project manager, Dr. Samuel Ohaeri, the major theme of the plan is ‘Free Access to Health Care’.