Security Expert, Osaro Ollorwi has expressed fear that the HIV/AIDS prevalence in Eleme may have recorded a rise in the number of persons infected by the virus following increase in drug abuse and risky sexual behaviours amongst cultists’ between 15 to 30 years of age in the area.
According to him, the crime of abduction that is prevalent in Eleme is also contributing to the rising rate of HIV infection since kidnap victims are usually molested and sexually abused. He called on the people of the area, particularly the youths and those in leadership cadre to synergize with security agents to tackle the spate of cultism and kidnapping in Eleme kingdom.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tonye Lawson-Jack, Chief Medical Officer/ Coordinator Primary Healthcare in Eleme Local Government Area has said that much is being done to contain the spread of HIV/AIDS in the area.
In an interview, he said: “Yes, these practice of multiple sexual partners among cultists has always been there. They are a bit more aware and more of them are stopping but over time it may affect their decision in the way they carry on their lives and they need more responsible and safer lives.
On efforts to tackle the prevalence of the disease he said: “Well, I won’t say that it has risen astronomically. What happens is that, our reporting rate has increased because we’ve done, said and talked to a lot of people about sex. So we actually go to places where people may be at risk like hotels, club houses, motor parks, all those places where a certain segment of the society or a certain number of people practice high risk behavior, that is, multiple sexual partners indulge in drug abuse and other things.
“We are not stereotyping them but usually when we go there, the chances of finding somebody who may have been infected or who may have contacted the HIV is there. Actually what we usually do, we go to those places through our program officers and other indigenes that have been supporting us and we talk to them, we first enlighten them about it and then we give them the right information for them to make and form decision and most times they are now convinced to do a test and when they do the test, for those who test positive, we enroll them, we enroll them in what we call Anti-retroviral therapy.
“Once we enroll them, we have centers that are suitable for them. When they go to this centers, we give them every drugs, it’s free of charge from the government. This has made more people bolder to come out because this stigma has reduced, because of the stigma; more people are bolder and have come out to have themselves tested. You’ll be able to catch a lot of people who may have died in silence and how they are taking the drugs because when they take the drugs they actually can’t live a normal life and the means of transmission will drastically reduce when they take those drugs so because of that the incident rate seems to have gone up, it’s more of the reporting rate, the coverage has increased also, I don’t agree that we have an astronomical increase”, he explained.
Dr. Tonye Lawson-Jack, further advised pregnant mothers on what to do.. His words: “I advise mothers not to take any pregnancy lightly, both medically and spiritually you are carrying a big responsibility when you are pregnant because you are carrying life within you and everybody knows life is precious, so I will always advise them to treat it as a big responsibility. The child’s welfare is in your hands, they have to go for antenatal, it does not begin when you are pregnant.
“Antenatal can actually start before pregnancy and have a planned parenthood programme where you decide that you want to have a child this year, you’ll start from checking your vital parameter to know how your system is, both the male and female, you’ll understand your finances, you’ll start planning for it, then do the ANC (Antenatal Care) proper and then the pregnancy is there, then stages, there’s something we call focus-Antenatal care, where the mother is expected to visit the Health Centre, Clinic, Hospital at least a minimum of four times.
“You may visit more than that but those four cardinal times are significant periods during their pregnancy in which the progress of the child is monitored, two, any dangerous ailment may be detected and three, their progress can be manipulated and enhanced, if they are not doing very well and they can be controlled, if there are other issues to worry about.
“So, during that antenatal care, the mother’s welfare in this period will be monitored up till the time of delivery and usually for those who engage in these things safely deliver babies, free of complications or if there are, they will usually refer them on time to a tertiary centre that can handle that specific problem. So, my advice to all the pregnant mothers and women who are pregnant even before the pregnancy but at least by the time you find out you are pregnant, go to the Health Centre, enroll yourself in Antenatal program and by all means give birth in a Government Health facility, give birth in an orthodox medical facility, that is my advice because they have the right tools to handle your case.
“Malaria is a very big problem in pregnancy. It leads to Anemia and poor development of the baby, it endangers the mother, there are a lot of negatives that come with a pregnant woman having malaria.