Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has called for collective efforts in the fight against the spread of the dreaded HIV/AIDS disease and stigmatization of those affected.
Governor Dickson made the call at a special edition of the state monthly jogging exercise, tagged, “Run-For-Life,” which took off from the Capital City Development Authority and terminated at the Peace Park, Yenagoa.
The event, which featured contestants of this year’s Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Pageant, was aimed at sensitizing the people on the effects of HIV/AIDS and the need to live a healthy lifestyle.
Describing the scourge as a potent and real danger to the future of the people of the state, the Governor urged them to see the fight against the pandemic as a collective responsibility, stressing that, “the health of one is the health of all.”
Hon. Dickson who said government would not relent in creating awareness about the disease, assured that the payment of the N10,000 monthly stipends to HIV/AIDS victims in the state under the Welfare and Social Security Scheme would be sustained.
“In the next couple of weeks, we are going to have another elaborate ceremony because I think it is important for us to have one public event in every quarter of the year that will enable all of us to drive home the message of HIV/AIDS. You are all aware of the statistics branded about this state is not too encouraging and I am very sad about it. But we need to work with each and every Bayelsan to ensure that the state is safe and healthy.
“In vain do we build all the good roads, bridges, hospitals and other infrastructure as we are doing, if we do not have a healthy population. It means that all of these developments will not be sustained because the human being is the most important resource that we have.”
Speaking, the Director General of the State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Dr. Temple Iluma, emphasized the need for the people to modify their sexual behavior and take advantage of the free medical services provided by the state government.
According to Dr. Iluma, government has provided free anti retroviral drugs for treatment of those affected and called on people to come out for testing and counseling.
In her remarks, the Director General of the state Tourism Development Agency, Mrs. Ebizi Brown, observed that reduction in stigmatization would encourage those affected to present themselves for testing with a view to knowing their status.
Dignitaries at the event include, Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Edmund Alison Oguru, Commissioner for Sports Development, Chief Mitema Obordor and other members of the state Executive Council, Vice President of Silverbird Group, Mr. Guy Murray Bruce and the Administrator of the Bayelsa State Sports Academy, Mr. Samson Siasia.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa