The Government of Akwa Ibom State is offering free health care services in Government health facilities for People Living with HIV AIDS (PLWHA) , children under the age of five, pregnant women, and citizens 65 years old and above.

This directives was affirmed in a press statement made available to newsmen in Uyo yesterday. The state government reaffirmed that it will all user fees for any HIV related services. The statement signed by Dr. Patrick Essiet, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health directed that the directive should be circulated to all health workers in the state so that they will be well informed to ensure compliance.

It reads “In accordance with the policy of the government of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel to provide free, accessible and quality health care services to children under the age of five, pregnant women, the aged over 65 years and other categories as may be determined by government, the Commissioner for Health has reiterated that free services given to People Living with HIV AIDS (PLWHA) is still in force.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the prohibition of user fee for HIV related services is still in force in the state. By this notice, all health workers should be properly guided as there will be consequences for defaulters” “This is an effort by the state government to remove all barriers to treatment of People Living With HIV AIDS. It could be recalled that the National AIDS Indicator Impact Survey (NAIIS) recently disclosed that Akwa Ibom has witnessed a significant drop in the prevalence of HIV from 10.8% (ANC Survey 2013) to 5.5% (NAIIS 2018). This puts the number of persons living with HIV in the State at 178,051 out of which 52,780 persons are currently on sustained Antiretroviral treatment while a significant number of persons in the State were yet to know their HIV status and 125,271 persons infected with HIV needs to be diagnosed and placed on lifelong therapy.