By Peter Duru, Makurdi
The Benue state Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Dr. Emmanuel Eru has lauded the intervention of Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in the state which he said had led to the drop of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state from 12 to 5.3 percent.
Dr. Eru who commended AHF, a global nonprofit provider of HIV prevention services, testing, and healthcare for HIV patients for its resilience in the fight against the scourge in the state observed that the feat wouldn’t have been achieved without the efforts of committed organizations like AHF.
The Commissioner spoke yesterday while commissioning a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) donated by AHF at Awuapila, Mbalagh in Buruku Local Government Area of the State.
He said, “we must commend AHF for its intervention and role in the fight against the HIV/AIDS scourge in Benue state and the success we are achieving in the fight.
“There is no gain saying that the reduction of HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Benue state from 12 to 5.3 percent according to recent statistics, wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of organisations like AHF which we must commend.”
The Commissioner counseled that HIV was not a death sentence advising that people should not be afraid to come out for testing, care and treatment adding that the facility would save the benefitting community the pains of traveling long distances to access such services.
Dr. Eru however cautioned that the state was still at risk of the spread of the epidemic even as he encouraged the people to make good use of the facility and guard it against any form of vandalism.
In his remark, the Country Programme Director of AHF Nigeria, Dr. Echey Ijezie, said “the project is a continuation of the effort of AHF to ensure that healthcare infrastructure are optimal, which advances the goal of the organisation to get HIV/AIDS services to everyone, especially those in difficult to reach terrain.”
He explained that the commissioned facility comprised of a Pharmacy and Dispensary unit, “it also has two Counselling Rooms, a Rest Room for both males and females, Storage room, an M & E/Record Room, a Laboratory, and an expansive Waiting room.”
Dr. Ijezie who disclosed that services at the facility were free encouraged the people of the area to come forth, get tested, and embrace treatment which he said would be at no cost to the clients.
“We belive in the people, this facility was built by AHF with the support of the state government which has always supported our efforts.
“AHF believes in ensuring that services get to everybody, especially those that are hard to reach. This is what we do in all communities where we operate.
“The services are free and I plead that the services are accepted by the people and please protect the facility,” he added.
In his speech, the Executive Secretary, Benue State Primary Healthcare Board, Dr. Bem Ageda, commended AHF for doing a lot in terms of intervention by helping the state government reach the unreached communities.
He disclosed that similar facilities had been constructed by the Foundation at Gbajimba and Daudu in Guma local government area of the state in the past.
Dr. Ageda observed that “when facilities for primary healthcare are put in place, it means the interventionists have the interest of communities at heart and it will be commended and appreciated when we put it to good us.”
In his remarks, the Kindred Head of Mbaiwan community, Chief Ahua Avanger, thanked AHF for situating the facility in his community assuring that his subjects would protect and preserve it.
Chief Avanger expressed optimism that the facility would serve the health needs of the community even as he urged his subjects to exploit the benefits of having the facility in the community by coming out to be tested.