The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has joined the Rivers State Government in welcoming the US Consul General, Mr. Will Stevens, to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, PortHarcourt on a visit.
IHVN Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, Dr. Charles Olalekan Mensah said that with funding from the US Government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IHVN has supported the HIV program in the facility to test more than 56,000 people for HIV and enroll more than 1,900 people for antiretroviral treatment from April 2019 to September 2023.
Dr. Mensah noted that the hospital has done excellently in caring for patients and providing accurate data on the HIV program. He thanked the US government for its funding support.
“On behalf of all the patients in this facility who receive HIV services, we thank you for your leadership. Since 2019 when we started providing HIV services in the state, the state government has been supportive. We ask that we are resourced more to enable the facility to do more,” he said.
Mr. Stevens toured the IHVN-supported PCR laboratory in the hospital which supports over 180 health facilities in Rivers and neighboring states with EID and viral load tests. The PCR laboratory analyses close to 3000 samples daily. He also interacted with mothers who have benefitted from the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services provided at the facility and have HIV-free children.
The US Consul General said that the success of the HIV program in the facility and the state is a result of working together.
“United States is committed to partnering with the continent and working with this beautiful, amazing country to find a path forward on the challenges that face us, in climate change, health issues, and youth unemployment to work on and solve these problems together. I am grateful to be here. I love seeing how we are working together to help save lives,” he said.
Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Adaeze Oreh, said that the Rivers State Government appreciates the support of the US government for the support to close significant gaps in the care of people living with HIV/AIDS in Rivers State.
“The impact of this is that having more people know their status, being placed on treatment and with viral load suppression helps in the journey towards destigmatizing the ailment and this is key to the focus on health for all in Rivers State,” she said.