2019 World AIDS Day: ABSACA, Vicar Hope hold HIV screening for inmates in Arochukwu

Posted by Sam Oditah. | 4 years ago | 1,191 times

The Abia State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (SACA) on Tuesday commenced on a three-day screening and counselling for inmates of the three Correctional Centres in the state.
The exercise, which took off at the Arochukwu Correctional Centre, was being organised by the agency in conjunction with Vicar Hope Foundation, a pet project of the Governor’s Wife, Mrs Nkechi Ikpeazu, to commemorate the 2019 World AIDS Day.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 67 of the 68 inmates, plus seven officials, were screened, counselled and given medications for various ailments, including malaria, typhoid fever, skin and sexually transmitted infections.
The leader of the team, Rev. Patrick Nwabuko, said that the agency decided to organise the exercise for inmates because they were vulnerable and exposed to great risk.
Nwabuko said, “Abia SACA under the leadership of the Executive Secretary, Mr Ajike Kalu, decided to organise the screening and counselling for inmates of Correctional Centres.
“The inmates were chosen for this year’s World AIDS Day celebration because they are the most at risk population and a lot of things happen and nobody is taking care of them.”
He said that those that tested positive would be given medications and counselled on how to
live a normal and healthy life within and outside the correctional custody.
He also said that inmates diagnosed with other ailments would receive medications.
Nwabuka advised the inmates to live a positive life and shun negative lifestyles, including homosexuality and sharing of sharp objects to avoid contracting the HIV virus.
Receiving the team, the Deputy Controller of Corrections, Arochukwu Medium Security Custodian Centre, Mr George Njoku, thanked the agency for remembering the centre.
Njoku expressed worry that successive administrations in the state had continued to discriminate against the centre.
He said that the last administration donated vehicles to Umuahia and Aba centres and left out the Arochukwu centre which, he said, had no operational vehicle.
“This is the first time the impact of the Abia government is felt at this centre but it is sad that it is for this reason that the centre is remembered,” he said.
He said that the centre had the highest population of indigent inmates, pointing out that the SACA initiative would remain a memorable experience to them.
Njoku said that the centre, which was built in 1908 for 180 inmates, had 68 inmates, consisting of 33 male and one female convicts as well as 34 awaiting trial males.
The female inmate, however, declined to be screened, in spite of persuasions by members of the team and officials of the centre.
NAN reports that the SACA team comprised two doctors, four nurses, counsellors and screening support workers from notable civil society organisations in Abia. 

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