Gov. Umaru Al-Makura of Nasarawa State, on Tuesday promised to provide over 500 centres for the Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services in the state before 2015.
Al-Makura said this at the flag-off of PMTCT scale-up programme in Lafia.
According to him, the state government is deeply concerned about the 7.6 per cent HIV and AIDS prevalence rate in Nasarawa, placing it in the 7th position in the national HIV and AIDS rating.
"It is in the light of this that the state government is partnering with various stakeholders in the health sector toward reducing the scourge," he said.
Al-Makura said that the flag-off of the PMTCT scale-up programme in the state was one of the strategies toward the reduction of HIV and AIDS.
The governor said that though, the PMTCT scale-up programme started with 53 centres as a pilot phase, it would be expanded subsequently.
He added that the state government was working toward addressing lack of adequate trained man power to handle the PMTCT services in most of the health facilities.
Al-Makura also promised to renovate all the dilapidated Primary Health Care (PHC) centres across the state and complete all the abandoned PHCs before the end of 2012.
He, however, called on all pregnant women to avail themselves of the PMTCT services to have HIV and AIDS free children.
The governor appealed to health workers and members of the public to avoid the stigmatisation of people living with HIV and AIDS.
NAN reports that 132 of the 250 targeted staff have so far been trained by one of the development partners (Solina Health) to handle the PMTCT in the state.
The Minister of State for Health, Muhammad Ali Pate, said that the ministry would work toward the success of the programme.
The minister, represented by the Special Adviser on HIV and AIDS, Dr Charity Onwordi, said that the PMTCT in the state was the first in the country.
He assured the state government that the programme would be replicated in other states to reduce the spread of the scourge.
Dr Okey Iwuanyanwu, Country Director, Centre for Disease Control (CDC), said that the U.S. Government would provide funds through the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria for the success of the programme.
He said that drugs, testing kits, motorcycles, generating set and other equipments had been provided for the take-off of the programme, adding that the first consignment would last for three months.
He said that CDC had made a commitment for the supply of the necessary PMTCT equipment to the state on a quarterly basis.