IHVN partners community pharmacies in Nasarawa State
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has began a partnership with 13 community pharmacies in Nasarawa State that enables the pharmacists offer anti-retroviral treatment to people living with HIV (PLHIV) who have been receiving treatment for more than six months and are seen to be responding to treatment.
In a training preparatory for commencement of the collaboration, in Keffi, IHVN Associate Director Clinical and Head of Pharmacy Department, Pharm. Yohanna Avong, said that the collaboration will improve access of patients to anti-retroviral treatment. “There are so many people living with HIV and sometimes, people have to travel long distances to go to a hospital. By the time they get to the hospital, because of the crowd, it is difficult for them to get the basic services. Many people drop out of treatment because of the difficulty they encounter,” he said.
Pharm. Avong noted that the engagement of community pharmacists to provide, HIV treatment, adherence and pharmaceutical care to PLHIV in the communities was piloted for over a year in the Federal Capital Territory and was beneficial to both hospitals referring patients to these pharmacies and the PLHIV receiving drugs from them. “Over 250 patients have been referred by six secondary hospitals to 20 pharmacies. It is our plan to engage 75 more pharmacies in the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa and Benue States which are high HIV burden states.”
He said that the accredited pharmacies involved in the project are being equipped with computers, refrigerators, computers, drug cabinets and other equipment and skills needed for the project to be successful.
Pharm. Ewhrudjakpor Samuel from Sam Glad Pharmacy in Lafia, who participated in the training, said that the training has prepared him to properly provide pharmaceutical care to the patients that will be referred to his pharmacy. “It is quite a stimulating experience. I think the patients will enjoy a closer one-on-one relationship with the pharmacists,” he said. Another participant, Pharmacist, Hamidu Osaru from Quality Health Pharmacy in Mararaba said that she has learned about adherence counseling and follow-up of patients to ensure adherence to drugs. “My expectation is that the community pharmacy would be a place that would increase patient safety, patient adherence so that it will reduce the burden of HIV in Nigeria.”
Community pharmacists, doctors and hospital staff participated in the four-day training.