- Nigeria has taken a step further to improve its capacity to curb new HIV/AIDS infection among citizens
- The new step taken by the federal government was announced by the director-general of the National Agency for the Control of AIDs
- Dr Gambo Aliyu said through a new evaluation report Nigeria would be able to reduce HIV transmission among 44,000 PWIDs
As part of its commitment to control the transmission and spread of HIV/AIDs, the Federal Government has launched its first evaluation report of the pilot Needle and Syringe Program.
The report was launched in collaboration with the Institute for Global Public Health, University of Manitoba and other stakeholders in the HIV/AIDs national response at the headquarters of the National Agency for the Control of AIDs (NACA) on Wednesday, September 8.
In a statement seen by Legit.ng, the director-general of NACA, Gambo Aliyu, said the new report is part of the agency’s effort to disseminate and make relevant information that will enable up-scaling of HIV and hepatitis prevention and care efforts available among persons who inject drugs (PWIDs).
The evaluation study was initiated in 2020 and was carried out by the Institute for Global Public Health, the University of Manitoba alongside her Nigerian affiliate, the West Africa Centre for Public Health and Development (WACPHD).
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The study followed a successful pilot implementation by the Society for Family Health and the pilot evaluation was carried out in Abia, Gombe and Oyo states.
Aliyu said that with the findings of the evaluation being put to effective use, it will enable the country to plan for the about 44,000 persons who inject drugs in Nigeria.
He said that the Needle and Syringe Program have been effective in other parts of the globe in curtailing or limiting HIV transmission among this high-risk group, and has been validated by the WHO, PEPFAR and the UNAIDs.
The aim of the evaluation, according to Kalada Green, country coordinator of the Institute for Global Public Health is to examine the feasibility, effectiveness and quality of a needle and syringe programme among PWID in Nigeria towards the scale-up of intervention and establishment of a monitoring and evaluation structure for PWID activities in Nigeria.
Green said that the University of Manitoba will continue to explore avenues for more collaborations and in upscaling her bouquet of technical assistance in the country and also within the West African landscape.
With the dissemination of the report, it is expected that the result will guide in the planning and prevention service intervention for people who inject drugs as Nigeria counts down to zero per cent HIV incidence by 2030.
Some of the partners involved in the program include; the Federal Ministry of Health (Harm Reduction Unit), National AIDs and STI Control Program (NASCP), Development partners, Nigeria’s country coordinating mechanism (CCM), International NGOs and funders, Community based organizations, Networks of persons who inject drugs among others.
In a Facebook post, NACA said its director-general received Dr Rachael Goldstein, a director, office of HIV/AIDs and TB for the United States Agency for International Development.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that NACA had warned that new infection of HIV/AIDs among young males and females who have never been married is on the increase in Nigeria.
This was contained in a report titled, "The Mode of Transmission (MoT) Of HIV in Nigeria Study", which was released by NACA on August 9, 2021.
The report also said the key sources of new HIV infections show that 64 per cent is from never-married young people; 23 per cent is from mother-to-child transmission; 4 per cent from female sex workers, 3 per cent from men who have sex with men, while 6.3 per cent from other sources.
In other news, the Namibian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Humphrey Geiseb, had rated Nigeria high in her effort to curb new HIV infections in the country.
Geiseb during his visit to the director-general of NACA in Abuja said other countries in Africa see Nigeria as their window of achievement.
He also called on African nations to improve their storytelling capacity to put the continent in limelight.