Stakeholders in Cross River State have called for more supplies of HIV test kits to step up the fight against the disease as they are lacking in public health facilities across the state.

They made the call in Calabar over the weekend at the state management team meeting organized by the state agency to fight AIDS and supported by the Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme.

Speaking at the meeting, the Director of Health, Cross River Department of Health, Dr Jonah Bassey Offor, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Iwara Iwara, said the lack of HIV testing kits is one of the challenges facing the fight. against HIV/AIDS. .

According to him, “The test kits used in the state are provided by implementing partners with help from the Cross River State government. Now there is a lack of these test kits.

“The Cross River State Department of Health will meet with the implementing partners to see how test kits will be made available as soon as possible.

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“The partners told us that the prevalence of HIV in Cross River State is 2 percent, which is quite encouraging, meaning the partners are doing a lot to reduce HIV in the state.”

He added: “The partners are working with the Cross River State Ministry of Health and that we have a 2 percent prevalence rate even though we are surrounded by states with a very high prevalence rate tells you that we are doing a lot in the control of HIV/AIDS in the state.”

Speaking about the influx of visitors during the upcoming carnival and the impact that would have on the potential spread of the disease, he said: “The Cross State Government and the Ministry of Health are well equipped to monitor the population that the state in terms of the spread of HIV in the sense that they have well-trained health professionals. They are equipped for this task across the country. Hopefully, before the carnival starts in December, the issue of the missing test kits will be addressed.”

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SACA Community Mobilization Officer, Ifere Obeten, said: “The private sector needs to be involved in the response and a committee has been formed to ensure they close that gap. We are working to achieve zero percent of prevalence in Cross River State. to achieve.

“We will ensure that test kits are available during the Carnival. There will be activities for people to know their HIV status. Condoms will also be available and other measures will be taken to ensure they do not have unprotected sex.
Efforts will be made to set up test points at the Christmas Village. Mobile test units will also be present along the roads that will perform services. We are now testing and treating those who are positive.”

The Chairman of the Cross River Technical Working Group, Dr. MacFarlane Eja, called for a state of emergency to be declared over the lack of HIV test kits, adding that it was a public health emergency.

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Mr Umanah Joe of ECEWS said progress has been made in establishing facilities to accelerate HIV control and prevention in the state.

United Nations organizations and other partners highlighted their achievements such as viral load suppression, number of tests performed, challenges and their goals.

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