The Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu says Cross River State has become the first in the country to constitute, inaugurate and operationalize the Local Government HIV/ AIDs and STIs Control Programme (LASCP) across the 18 Local Government Areas.

Professor Esu stated this while inaugurating the Local Government AIDs and STIs Control Programme (LASCP) in the Exco Chambers, Government House, Calabar. He pointed out that the State Government is stepping up its HIV AIDS response to drive services down to Grassroots by the provision of facilities and improvements of activities that are geared towards reducing the scourge of HIV/AIDs in the State.

The Deputy Governor explained that a situation room for the control center has been established in the Ministry of Health to monitor the activities of HIV/AIDs response across the State, state Management Team set up and service delivery on track.

Professor Esu described HIV/AIDs as a debilitating disease, that Cross River is presently at 2% HIV/AIDs prevalence, which is slightly above the National average of 1.4%.He averred that the State Government target is to go far below the National average as low as zero percent.

The Deputy Governor charged the team to see their new assignment as a call to duty to eradicating HIV/AIDs as the State Ministry of Health has provided the operational framework for the commencement of activities by the various LASCP teams.

He also enjoined the eighteen (18) Local Government Council Chairmen to develop LASCP annual operational plan and detailed report of the capacity building programmes for the team on or before 15th December, 2020.

Speaking earlier, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu emphasized that the impact of the HIV epidemic on the people and the State must be taken seriously and all challenges affecting smooth delivery of HIV/AIDs and STIs services must be confronted head-long.

She said the health sector response in the country are mandatorily coordinated through the National AIDs and STIs Control Programmes (NACSP) at the National level, the State AIDs and STIs (SACSP) and the Local AIDs and STIs Control Programme (LASCP) at the Local Government level. Our target is to reach the unreached with HIV services while reducing the prevalence to zero. She also said the inauguration will bring the state closer to the achievement of of epidemic control and soon make us a sub- recipient of the Global fund grant.

The programme development Consultant (SASCP) Dr. MacFarlane Eja, while speaking on the role of LASCP, intimated that LASCP is responsible for the coordination of HIV/AIDs sector response at the Local Government level.

In his acceptance speech on behalf of Council Chairmen, Hon.Emmanuel Bassey who doubles as the Chairman of the Local Government forum in the State and Chairman of Akpabuyo Local Government Council, maintained that effective and efficient health care services are fundamental to the wellbeing of the people at the communities and Local Government Areas which they represent.

He said the Local Government system as the third tier of governance which is closer to the people cannot be found to lag behind and therefore pledged to give the various LASCP teams all the policies and programmes support that they require to succeed.

Highpoint of the event was the inauguration of the 18 Local Government Areas LASCP team by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu.

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