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Rivers To Give Out Anti-retroviral Drugs To Neighbours

Rivers State government has expressed its willingness to  give out some of the anti- retroviral drugs it recently received from ACTLAP Children Foundation Canada to some neighbouring states who are in need. The Health Commissioner Dr. Tamunoiyoriari Parker stated this while inspecting the drugs worth about one billion naira at the Central Medical Stores in Port Harcourt.

According to Dr. Parker the drug was given to the state free of charge “all the Rivers State government did was to cover the logistics of shipment and transportation so it is only natural to give some to our neighbours who are in need “the Commissioner said. He said though he had been told that the state had about 300,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, but he was yet to count 20,000 people living with it in the state.

”They tell me Rivers State HIV/AIDs burden is six per cent and that means we have about 300,000 persons, but till today I have not yet counted 20,000.  So, I really want to know who this people are; I want to know who they are and their number”, Dr .Parker said. Dr. Parker said since prevention is better than cure, government would embark on sensitization campaign in the 23 local councils in the state.

Health Commissioner said there was no denial that HIV/AIDS exist in Rivers, but that it is preventable and advised those living with it not to worry, saying ”it can be managed for you to live a normal life. I must say that if you effectively treat somebody with HIV/AIDS, the chances of transmitting HIV/AIDS from one person to the other is reduced by 96 per cent.

So, you can see that the war against HIV/AIDS is about being won” he said. Parker noted that while the prevalence rate is increasing in some states of the country, it was on the downward side in Rivers ” And we are thinking that, if we carry on all our strategy together, by 2015 we should have dropped half of it.

The most important thing now is the data; we must know who this people really are; who are they?”, Parker asked.

He said that the distribution of the drugs would be decentralized with testing and treatment centres in over 100 health centres across the state.  Also speaking the President and Chief Executive officer of ACTLAP Mr Bevis Paul Igbinoba  said the drugs were donated by Act plan Children Foundation a Non Governmental Organization based in Toronto Canada to assist reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in the countries of the world.

He said the NGO had always donated the drugs to the states that indicated interest.

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