. Govt decries low testing rate among residents
Odahiekwu Ogunde, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government has decried the low HIV/AIDS testing rate among residents of the state, describing it as far below the expected outcomes.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Pabara Igwele, stated this while receiving 70,000 Life Saving Rapid Test Kits donated by IHS Nigeria Limited with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
He said only 41% of the residents of the state know their HIV/AIDS status, pointing out that it was far below the 95% testing rate.
He said: “This donation is the first of its kind and we consider our state fortunate. Government alone cannot cater for the health care needs of our citizens. These kits will help to improve our health care indices in the area of HIV/AIDS.
“During the World AIDS Day celebration, we also did our statistics and observed that just 41% of persons in our state know their status which is far below the the 95% expected outcome. We have quite a lot to do, and so we need more support.”
In his remarks, the USAID representative in Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Odelola, described the 70,000 rapid test kits as a major milestone in USAID strategic engagement and partnership with the private sector.
He added that the IHS/USAID partnership has resulted in the provision of test kits to be utilised in testing the citizens of Bayelsa State.
Odelola said: “This contribution from IHS will augment the Bayelsa State HIV/AIDS programme capacity to find more unidentified people living with HIV in particular, support prevention of mother to child transmission services with antenatal clinics and reach out to numerous young children and others who are at risk. “All the newly diagnosed individuals that will benefit from these test kits that are found positive will be immediately be placed on life saving anti-retroviral therapy supported by the US President’s emergency