On Wednesday 23 October 2019, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel, who was represented by the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, Dr. Emmanuel E. Ekuwem commissioned the Akwa Ibom state surge digital health data situation room and an HIV treatment response communication room in support of the ongoing HIV surge response in the state.
In addition, 21 tricycles and 10 motorcycles for rural logistics and transportation, 23 tele-video conferencing and communication equipment, 39 solar desktops for e-clincs, 1000 pre-loaded closed user group (CUG) phones with registered SIM cards and 25 shelf cabinets were commissioned for the same purpose. These items have been made available by funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the HIV surge response currently being implemented by Family Health International (FHI360) under the Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project, in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Government.
Dr. Ekuwem reiterated the commitment of His Excellency, the Governor, to the health of every citizen of Akwa Ibom State. In his words, Dr. Ekuwem described the HIV Digital Situation Room as the “HIV/AIDS RADAR”, which is the first of its kind in the country. According to him, people can achieve wealth when they are healthy. He commended the effort of the United States Government towards the State and thanked FHI360 for leading the surge response together with other USAID implementing partners and stakeholders.
The commissioning event was part of the Dr. Gambo Aliyu (NACA DG) -led 10th Expanded SIDHAS Project Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting and the Akwa Ibom State Joint Community Advisory Committee (AKSCAC) meeting. The ceremony which took place in the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health premises had in attendance the Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu; Commissioner for Health, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Dominic Ukpong; FMoH – Dr. Godwin Ntadom, NTBLCP – Dr. Urhioke Ochuko, NASCP – Dr. Segilola Araoye, NPHCDA – Chris Elemuwa, USAID Nigeria – Michelle Russell – Dr. Ezekiel James, SIDHAS Chief of Party, Satish Pandey and the Deputy Chief of Party – Technical, Dr. Hadiza Khamofu; with representation from traditional rulers in the state.
Following the release of the National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) report which recorded a 5.5% HIV prevalence in Akwa Ibom State, the state government through the Ministry of Health and Akwa Ibom State Agency for Control of AIDS (AKSACA) have taken the lead in the surge response with FHI360 and other USAID implementing partners, providing technical assistance towards achieving HIV epidemic control.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong commended His Excellency Governor Udom, the SSG Dr. Ekuwem, the DG NACA Dr. Gambo Aliyu, USAID, FHI360, His Royal Highness and representatives of different Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) and key stakeholders for being present and making the event a success. He promised to put items to good use in the health facilities, striving towards the goal of achieving HIV control in the state.