Saturday, July 21, 2018
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IHVN, Partners Disseminate HIV National Guideline in North-West

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To ensure that the recently launched 2016 National Guidelines for HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care is available in all the North-West states of the country, the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and other partners have organized a dissemination meeting in Kaduna State.

In the two-day meeting in Kaduna, Commissioners of Health, Chief Medical Directors of Facilities, Implementing Partners and other stakeholders were sensitized on the new approaches in the guideline. The National Guideline, also called “Test and Treat” is for reducing the high rate of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and the proper management of the disease in the country among other matters.

The Honorable Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, who was represented by his Special Adviser, Mr. Araoye Segilola said that the guideline emphasizes that everyone who tests positive is automatically eligible for treatment. “This guideline could not have come at a better time, it will serve as a catalyst for the attainment of the 90-90-90 campaign.”

Prof. Adewole said, “As a nation, even though there is much work to be done, I would say our HIV program has been highly productive and moving in the right direction with over 900,000 patients on treatment, improved and functional logistical systems for commodities management and highly skilled manpower for the management of HIV/AIDS.”

imagesIHVN Director of Clinical Services, Dr. Ernest Ekong stated that IHVN was part of the research that arrived at the “Test and Treat” strategy that involved 215 sites in 35 countries. “With the test and start policy that has been introduced in the guideline, certainly much more positive people would be discovered, much more infrastructure would be needed, drugs and capacity building would be needed to manage the excess number.” Dr. Ekong added that before the country adopted the strategy, studies were conducted “to ascertain how to increase capacity of health workers and as a strategy, more testing points have been erected all around the country. In addition, health care workers would be required to multi-task.”

Dr. Ekong also said that the country has also prepared specialized laboratories and centers that would be sending samples to specific laboratories for test, “PEPFAR and Global Fund are also assisting the country in various ways in addition to the government effort. This new strategy of ‘test and treat’ is very doable, and this dissemination exercise would be replicated in all the regions of the country,” he added.

A participant, Dr. Salimat Omownmi Lawal, said “the guideline would make us health workers, duty bound to give antiretroviral medications to all exposed people. That is, everyone who is at risk of contracting the virus. It also contains alternative drugs to be given to patients.” Another participant, Shehu Mairiga, said he is particularly happy about the emphasis on moving from ‘Option B’ treatment to a better approach of implementing ‘Option B+’ which is the continuing of treatment for life for pregnant women who are living with the virus.”

Various presentations and technical sessions were held during the meeting involving 109 participants who developed state specific job aids for users of the guideline to ensure a wide dissemination and effective implementation of the document.

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