By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna.
Following her commitment to various interventions in the health sector, especially issues concerning women and children, United Nations Children’s fund, UNICEF, on Tuesday said that Kaduna State has set a good example for other states to follow, as it has placed the country on the global Map by its healthcare programmes, adding “Kaduna is a State that keeps commitment”.
Dorothy Mbori-Ngacha, Chief of Children/AIDS Section, UNICEF Nigeria, made this known when she visited Kaduna to say ‘Thank you’ to the Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency, KADSACA for their commitment to women and children in the state.
“What we are seeing in the global discussion about Nigeria is that people have recognized the work that is going on in this corner of the world called Kaduna and people are keen to come and partner with the state. And this partnership will not only serve to change the response in Kaduna, but will change the response in Nigeria as a whole.
“Kaduna is a State that keeps its commitment, last year when we came here we discussed with KADSACA and its team about how Kaduna can move forward towards eliminating Mother to Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS, they took it up and they said they were going to work towards it. And what we have seen happened is that from the top Leadership, that is his excellency the governor and all the way to the technical officers, they have taken this as a very important aspect.
“You see the team has been able to test over 150,000 women this year alone. That is an entry point, once you test them and they know their status you will be able to know what to give to them and how to prevent it and Kaduna has already started that. This is why we are so exited.
“We also know that the governor has put his own resources in the budget, though UNICEF is partnering with Kaduna but the majority of the resources comes from the state and this is a very good example for other states to follow, putting in your own domestic resources to a problem you see and want to solve it.
“What we found now is good news about the prevalence of HIV among the population which focus very more on young people. Kaduna was one of two states in Nigeria which did a very strong assessment to try and understand where we are. For children I am very excited because you know our mandate is really around children and young people. Kaduna is now showing that more than 50% of the children living with HIV are now on treatment”. She noted.
Explaining the secret of the agency’s 2016 successes, Executive Secretary KADSACA, Dr. Haliru Abubakar said refocusing and repositioning the agency really helped in producing all its achievements.
According to him, “when we came in, we realized that we have to put a square peg in a square hole, that was what we did, we try to request for more hands from the government and government agreed, so we had a robust team and we got back to the internationally recognized Combinating Prevention Intervention in the state and we try to translate all this milestones from international declaration, Abuja and UN declarations that States and Nations should achieve certain number of figures before the end of 2016.
“At the beginning of this year, we actually set up to achieve counselling and testing of 500,000 people but we exceeded that, we have been able to reach 660,000 people in the state. In January, during the MNCH week we tested 120,000 women, out of that only 1% were positive, we also placed more than 41,000 on treatment, have been able to reach close to 1million people with Combination Prevention Intervention in the State.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Chief of Field Office UNICEF Kaduna, Utpal Moitra, noted that comparing Kaduna to other states in the country, Kaduna has become a research example for data and information.
Utpal, thank the governor for approving a budget of over N410 million for HIV/AIDS alone for 2017. He therefore congratulated the KADSACA team for their efficiency in hitting a number of targets in 2016 and charged them not to relent but to ensure that 2017 targets are not kept for 2018.
Enumerating some of the key achievements for 2016, Dr. Idris Baba, HIV/AIDS Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, said, “Kaduna state was supported to create demand and provide PMTCT services across all the 23 LGAs of the state. 407,648 pregnant women are expected to attend ANC in Kaduna state in 2016.
“According to the state administrative data, over 330,000 pregnant women (about 90% of the expected number) have been reached with HIV testing services in ANC as at Oct 2016, out of which 3432 tested positive to HIV. 3021 of them were placed on ARV for PMTCT. State PMTCT coverage is 40% as at September 2016.
“Kaduna State has an estimated Paediatric HIV burden of 16,902 (Estimated HIV positive children ages 0-14 years; UNAIDS spectrum estimation 2016), 9706 (57%) children aged 0-14 years are currently on ART”.
By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna.