The National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) and Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWODEN) have held a capacity building training for People Living with HIV and AIDS to strengthen their access to efficient HIV services in Kaduna State.
SWODEN’s Programme Officer, Mr Umar Jimeta, who in his address at the opening ceremony of the five-day capacity building workshop disclosed efforts of his organization in sensitizing the society on issues relating to public health , HIV in particular and how services could be accessed with little efforts .
He said that the training, with SWODEN as the implementing partner, was designed to address the gaps in HIV service delivery, particularly care and treatment, as well as addressing the drivers of HIV pandemic in the country.
He mentioned that the target groups include ; Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWAN), Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ASWAN), and Association of Positive Youths Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (APYIN) , among others.
“There is also the key population which constitutes people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, sex workers , prisoners and several others.
“The idea is to improve their capacity to improve access to efficient services and join the fight against HIV and take it to the grassroots through awareness creation and community engagement and mobilisation.
“This will strengthen governments and development partners’ interventions and ensure that relevant stakeholders work together towards ending the scourge of HIV by 2030,” he hinted .
The programme officer said that NACA was supporting the intervention in 10 states of the federation, including Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Abuja, Niger, Kogi, and Jigawa , adding that about 1.8 million people were living with the virus in the country, with 65 per cent of them receiving treatment.
He said the virus had claimed 44,830 lives in 2019, regretting that more than 100,000 new infections were equally recorded in the same year.
In his address , Dr Isah Baka, Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Aids Control Agency, commended NACA and SWODEN for supporting the state to strengthen access to HIV services.
Baka described the capacity building as a “wonderful beginning” for year 2021, stressing that the agency would soon roll out massive awareness campaign for people to know their status and take responsibility.
He said that capacity building and awareness creation would enable people to take responsibility to know their status, be on treatment and take responsibility to protect their neighbours from contracting the virus.
He reiterated the state Government’s commitment in providing the needed resources to implement high impact HIV programmes that would further reduce HIV prevalence in the state from 1.1 to zero per cent.
On his part, Mr Aliyu Sada, Assistant Secretary, NEPWAN, Kaduna State Chapter, also lauded NACA, the state government and development partners for the effort to improve access to HIV services.
He expressed optimism that the training would help to address the problem of stigmatisation, adherence to treatment and take HIV drugs closer to the people for easy access.