In its renewed effort to totally eradicate the Human Immune Virus (HIV), particularly mother to child transmission (MTCT), Country Director of United Nations, Mr. Bilali Camara, has set 2020 deadline to end the transmission of the virus in Cross River and Nigeria at large.
Camara who dropped the hint recently during a dinner in honour of United Nations’ (UN) agencies after their three-day retreat hosted by the wife of Governor Ben Ayade, Lynda, in Calabar, said the partnership with the governor’s wife’s NGO, Mediatrix Development Foundation, has given them the opportunity to re-strategize to put an end to HIV-related deaths in the state.
His words: “We have discussed and agreed as well as given ourselves a homework which is essential that by the end of 2020, no child will be born with HIV in Cross River State and no mother will be dying of AIDS in this state, even in Nigeria.
“We want the governor to lead us in this direction to ensure that Cross River becomes the first state in Nigeria to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV.
“Under the leadership of UNICEF, all of us will be working with you to make sure that this vision, this objective will certainly become a reality.
We will certainly go back and start working to see how better we can help our brothers and sisters in the North-East because we cannot forget them despite the fact that we are working presently in the South-East and also sending lifesaving drugs to Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa which are also burning with HIV.”
Responding, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, lauded the UN system in Nigeria for their pragmatic approach in the eradication of HIV/AIDS in the state.
While commending the effort of the wife of the governor, Dr. Lynda Ayade, for setting up the NGO aimed at protecting orphans and vulnerable children, including child right issues, the deputy governor restated the commitment of the state government in ensuring that healthcare delivery becomes a right of all Cross Riverians by introducing a more robust social safety net that will give the poor access to qualitative healthcare services.
– Edem Edem, Calabar