HIV/AIDS: Kaduna at the forefront of eradication implementation -UNICEF
By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Kaduna State has been selected as one of the “fast-track” state for the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visions of ending HIV/AIDS in Nigeria by 2020.
Dr. Dorothy Mbori-Ngacha, Chief, Children and HIV/AIDS Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Nigeria, disclosed this in Kaduna during a media briefing at the end of her three days visit to the state.
She said “UNICEF works with Kaduna State in a number of areas, “we work with the state in the area of preventing new cases of HIV/AIDS in children, for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS.
“And Kaduna has been doing well. It is one of the states in the nation that is doing well in the PMTCT, HIV programme. Really, as a result of the performance, up to date, Kaduna has been ear-marked as one of the fast-track states.
“Remember that recently your head of state, President Buhari was in New York, and he spoke to the world and said he wants to see the end of AIDS in Nigeria by 2020 and so Kaduna State has been selected as fast-track to begin the implementation of that vision.
”Another area is the treatment of children. We know that adults are getting good treatment when they have HIV, unfortunately children are lagging behind and this is a sad scenario; it is like adults are eating and children staying hungry.
“So we at UNICEF will work with the state to really see how we can identify children living with HIV, better improve our identification of children and linking them to treatment. We also know that adults who have HIV may also have children living with HIV, so if you can treat the adults why not treat the children?”
Dorothy explained that UNICEF’s target is to ensure the next three to five years, 90% of all children living with HIV are receiving treatment in the state.
She commended the state government for prioritising the issue of HIV/AIDS and showing more interest in that regard asserting that she saw all the evidence on the field when she visited the ministry of health and other facilities provided by the government.
In his presentation, Mallam Lawal Abubakar, Deputy Director, Public Health, Kaduna State Ministry of Health, said the ministry’s priority of areas of partnership with UNICEF is PMTCT, early infants diagnosis and pediatric Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART).
According to him, the idea is to make sure that all the HIV exposed children that have been born in the state are tested to find out whether they are positive or negative and that where they are found to be positive, they will be linked to treatment site so that they can immediately be placed on ART.
“In order to achieve our goals in these areas, we have done alot of activities with UNICEF; one of them is to ensure that we identify some bottle necks.
”We did a bottle neck analysis on PMTCT in the twenty three Local Government Areas in the State and we came up with some areas we have some weaknesses which will serve as our baseline and we develop line of action for the state and the twenty three LGAs in the state.
“So both the state and all the LGAs are now following the plan. So we receive some technical support to run the bottle neck analysis.” He said.
Lawal called on the public to understand that HIV is not a death sentence and that there is need for the people to know through the media that it is not a deadly disease.