The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has sensitized over 50 health care workers on the process of enrolling and referring orphans and vulnerable children for HIV prevention, and care services in one day training in Abuja.
IHVN Program Manager Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), Mrs. Jummai Musa stated that the activity is to foster collaboration between health care workers in facilities and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs).
“This is the first time we are having this and it is so that we can improve the lives of the communities. When we work together, our impact would be heard. With clear understanding of our roles and responsibilities, the expected outcome of the collaboration is increased enrolment of HIV infected children into the OVC program, retention and viral suppression,” she said
She noted that services available to OVC and their households include, health and nutrition, economic strengthening of households, education, psycho-social support and child protection.
According to Mrs. Musa, collaboration between health care workers and CBOs is like a marriage that needs effective communication for OVC and their households to receive the quality services.
Senior Medical Officer, Karshi General Hospital, Mr. Stephen Samchi, who participated in the training, described it as interactive and practical. “With the knowledge I have now, I would actively look out for the vulnerable children and link them up with the CBOs.
Before, when we see people like this, we start struggling on how to find people to help them and it does not lead to any positive outcome but with the structures that the CBOs have, this would be sustainable,” he said.
Another participant, Principal Medical Officer, Asokoro Hospital, Dr. Monica Omo –Irefo said that she “feels well informed about the OVC program and the CBO’s duties. I gained a lot of information. My manner of approach to the patient would be different now I know the CBOs exist and I can hand over any patient to them that needs help.
I will train my team members and have meetings with them so that I can educate them in order to carry out our work effectively and they also are not information starved,” she said.
The OVC program seeks to ensure that children and adolescents are safe, schooled and healthy. Its overarching goal is to support the provision of a holistic service package to improve the well-being of beneficiaries.
It also aims at achieving household resilience by responding to the socio-economic and emotional consequences of HIV/AIDS. These services are provided in a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable manner using evidence-based child, household and community-centered focus interventions.