Influx of Cameroon refugees may increase risk of HIV/AIDS in Cross River – expert

The Permanent Secretary, Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Mark Echeng, has said the influx of Cameroon refugees may increase the risk and prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

Echeng stated this during a one day stakeholders meeting on Global Funds Institutional Capacity Strengthening held in Calabar and organised by FHI 360 and Excellence Community Education Welfare Scheme, ECEWS.

According to him, too many people are coming into the state from other neighbouring West African countries due to crises and war and many of them are unchecked.

He expressed concerns that refugees and migrants are creating more crises among host communities, thereby creating security problems.

He said: “Most of the refugees and migrants we are hosting are living with various commuincable and viral diseases and it doesn’t just dissapear months after they get here, so we need help,” he appealed

“Although we have health posts and centres in all the IDPs camp, but they are not enough becuase the burden is too much on the state alone; we need the assistance of the Federal government to reduce the wage bill on this becuase we are expending so much on the health of these migrants .

“The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in neigbouing Cameroon has been put at 3.6 per cent. Other states bordering Cross River including Ebonyi, Benue and Akwa Ibom are all above 2 per cent thus putting Cross River at a precarious position and at a high risk,” he stated.

He, therefore, called on Federal government to asist the state by providing human and material resources as the burden is much.

Earlier, the Speaker, Cross River State House of Assembly, CRSHA, Hon Eteng Williams, advocated a developmental plan and must stick to it by ensuring its full implementation.

He argued that HIV/AIDS is not something that we should fold our hands and watch our people die, adding that much has to be done a lot has to be done to sure they have adequate care .

According to him, the state should work towards the WHO template of 15 percent budgetary allocation for health sector to provide a quality healthcare delivery to citizens.

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