By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported Adolescent and Young Persons project in Kaduna State is drastically reducing new cases of HIV/AIDs in Lere Local Government Area of the state.
The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Local Government Action Committee on AIDS (LCA) in the LGA, Malam Balarabe Musa, disclosed this on Dec.1 during an outreach programme organised to mark the 2019 World AIDS Day.
The AYP project is a UNICEF-supported programme, designed to scale-up the combination of HIV prevention, treatment and care services for adolescents and youths in the state.
Musa said that prior to the project Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV facilities records new cases of between 8 and 15 but has continued to reduce since the implementation of the AYP project in 2016.
“For example, PMTCT facility in the last quarter screen about 2,873 pregnant women, but only three tested positive.
“Similarly, in November, about 763 AYPs were screen for HIV and only two tested positive and were placed on treatment,” he said.
Speaking on the challenges, the M&E Officer, said one of the challenges of the programme now is shortage of Test Kits, condoms and lubricants and this has affected the DCs outreach services, “you can see as we went round the wards the demand is high,” he added.
Also, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Primary Health Care Department in the Council, Mr. Saleh Habu, said that the Muslim community in the area has made HIV screening mandatory of intending couples to curb the spread of the virus.
“Even women of childbearing age are not left out as they are eager to go for test to know their status, while pregnant women undergo screening whenever they attend ante-natal clinic at health facilities,” he added.
However, 23-year old Ridwan Mujaheed, a Tester in Nasarawa Saminaka Ward, said the shortage in commodities has affected their outreach services. He disclosed that in a day they could test about 20 to 25 people as the demand kept increasing. He called for large quantity of commodities to be delivered to his Ward.
Similarly, 22 years old Muazu Abubakar, of Nasarawa Saminaka Ward, said the response at his ward has been tremendous as youth in the area troop out in large numbers waiting eagerly to be tested in order to know their status, and for him, this made him happy as one of those to champion the AYP programme in his community.
A 45-year old truck driver, Mr. Daniel James, who got tested before this Reporter said he was very happy with the result. He informed that he was aware of the ongoing AYP programme, since he is involved in such activities in his Church; and called on people to stay alive by going for HIV test.
Corroborating Mujaheed and Abubakar; 24 years old Yusuf Sambo, another Demand Creator at Sabon Birnin Ward, said they had to tender apologies to people each time the test kits could not go round for the day, as the demand gets soaring high.
“Before the shortage of test kits, condoms and lubricants, about 30 people could be tested per day, but with this development we have to apologize to people each time,” he said.