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A New Dawn: Expanding the Frontiers of Healthcare Delivery in Okoroette Community


Okoroette is a riverine community situated in Eastern Obolo LGA, extreme of Akwa Ibom State and sharing boundaries with coastal communities around the River Niger basin. The community is located in a hard to reach area with an estimated population size of about 74,000. Yet its population of HIV positive cases stands at about 9%, considered to be one of the highest in Akwa Ibom State. The major economic activity of the people is fish farming. The harsh terrain and limited prospects fan risky behaviors such as prostitution, high level of alcohol intake, and drug abuse which are factors in the spread of HIV. Okoroette has only one primary health center providing prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services.

Over the years, the unavailability of a secondary health facility with skilled personnel and diagnostic capabilities has hampered access to comprehensive HIV/AIDs services in Okoroette community. This was further complicated by the fact that access roads in and out of the community has been more of a nightmare. FHI 360 in close collaboration with the State Ministry of Health staff advocated to the state government and brought the plight of the people of Okoroette to the attention of the Executive Governor of the State. This proved to the game changer as following this move the State Government prioritized the provision of comprehensive HIV/AIDS service intervention for this community. In October 2013, a secondary health facility (General Hospital Okoroette) was commissioned by the Executive Governor of the State – His Excellency, Governor Godswill Akpabio.

In recognition of this effort by the State Government, USAID, through FHI 360’s SIDHAS project commenced full scale activation of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment services at General hospital Okoroette in May 2014. The hospital now has a fully equipped state of the art laboratory with trained personnel. Availability of diagnostics and HIV/AIDS treatment capabilities within the newly activated facility has greatly improved the chances of all HIV clients within the community and beyond receiving the much needed support and care. This will ultimately reduce the current HIV prevalence and close the current PMTCT gap in the state. Although General hospital Okorette still faces the challenge of bad access roads, the people of the community can now heave a sigh of relief as comprehensive HIV/AIDS services has been brought closer to them and dusk has given way to a new dawn in Okoroette community.

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