Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Rivers State governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has abolished payment of fees for antenatal, HIV/AIDS as he reiterated his administration’s commitment to meeting all the healthcare needs of Rivers people.
He noted that his government has made significant progress in curbing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Niger Delta state.
Wike stated these during the kick-off of waiver of user fees and antenatal care charges at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital in Port Harcourt on Friday.
The Rivers governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, reiterated that when he assumed office in 2015, there were only 15 sites for Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT), but that they had now risen to 112 sites.
He said: “Our aim is to extend PMTCT services to every health facility in Rivers State. All user fees for persons living with HIV/AIDS, who are accessing services, including antenatal registration, have been abolished in Rivers State. We are also on the verge of permanently kicking polio out of Rivers State and Nigeria.”
Wike also disclosed that Rivers immunisation coverage had risen from 44.6 per cent in 2016 to 82.6 per cent in 2018, while giving assurance of more improvement.
He noted that his administration was encouraging baby-friendly initiative in health facilities across the state, while pointing out that his wife, Justice Eberechi Suzzette, was the number one nutrition champion stressing that his administration was developing creative ways to reach communities with family planning services.
He also hailed all the stakeholders for their support and continued participation towards improved access to quality health services for all.
In their goodwill messages, Dr. Jahun Jbrahim of the Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Patrick Dakum, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, lauded the Rivers government for the bold initiative, noting that it would not only give succour to people living with HIV/AIDS, but would go a long way to stemming the spread of the disease.
The Permanent Secretary of Rivers Ministry of Health, Mrs. Caroline Wali, in her remarks, noted that the waiver of user fees for persons living with HIV/AIDS by Wike was unprecedented in the country.