2,000 Women Screened For Cervical Cancer In Akwa Ibom

About 2,000 women have been screened for cervical cancer by the Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) in Akwa Ibom. The state deputy director, Technical , Dr Pius Nwanokoro, revealed this at the Engagement Meeting with Media Representatives on HIV/AIDS Treatment Surge organized by Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (AKSACA) in conjunction with the Family Health International (FHI-360) in Uyo, recently. 

Nwanokoro hinted that five testing laboratories had been set up even as there was plan to add more of such testing kits for access by women.

 He pointed out that testing for the disease was necessary to ensure it does not develop to cancerous stage, which could be dangerous to the patient.

 Nwanokoro said SIDHAS which is funded by the PEPFAR through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),had successfully carried out epidemic control on HIV/AIDS in seven local government areas of the state with patients responding to treatment . 

According to him, the agency works closely with Traditional Birth Attendants(TBAs), religious and community leaders to provide the services, which ranges from trainings, identification of infected persons to Index Case Testing(ICT), among others.

 Making overview of HIV/ AIDS treatment surge in the state, Dr Kolawale Olatunbunso said 98 per cent of HIV/AIDS infected persons who were tested on treatment for viral load reduction. He said so far, about 98 per cent of babies delivered by HIV/ AIDS infected mothers have come out negative, according to post- natal test conducted.

 According to him, the new one dose of tablet a day for every AIDS patients was effective in the treatment of the disease which invariably favours babies at birth.

 Olatunbosu maintained currently a research was ongoing to see how the tablet could be taken once in a week and perhaps in a month interval. He hinted that the target was to attain a zero HIV/AIDS infection as in Polio and small pox, adding that the media should help in sensitizing the public that testing and treatment was free. 

 The State Project Manager, AKSACA, Dr Igbemi Arthur who spoke on the "Overview of HIV/AIDS Situation in Akwa Ibom, noted that after the 2018 Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey(NAIIS), which the state was ranked 5.5 per cent as against the earlier 10.8 per cent , the surge intervention in the 21 local government areas as seen to the placement of many people on treatment after testing with a resultant improvement in infection rate.

 He enumerated other achievements of the agency to include; the State Anti-Stigmatization Bill being passed through second reading and awaiting public hearing; getting support from Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the procurement and distribution of palliatives. Also speaking , the state programme coordinator on HIV\AIDS, Dr Ime Usanga said the meeting was aimed at sensitizing the media on the level of progress recorded in the surge treatment exercise.

 He reiterated that contracting AIDS was not a death sentence as once the infected person was tested and treated the viral load will reduce.

 The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, represented by the Director, Technical Services, Mrs Blessing Urua stressed the commitment of the media community to partner the service providers to create the needed awareness to achieve the targeted HIIV/AIDS free infection in the state.

 He appreciated the partners for the commitment demonstrated in reducing HIV/AIDS incidence in Akwa Ibom and pointed out the one dose tablet was quite simple to administer, hence the public should take the advantage. 

 Ememobong implored the media to do their utmost best in Disseminating fair and objective information on HIV/AIDS to the public as a contribution to the fight against the disease in the state. The meeting was attended by journalist drawn from various media establishments and the Network of People With HIV/ AIDS In Nigeria(NEPWHAN), Akwa Ibom Branch.

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