The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has expressed confidence in the ability of the Kaduna State in northern Nigeria, to end all new cases of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS by 2020.
UNICEF’s Chief of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, Ms Dorothy Nbori-Ngacha, said this shortly after her team’s meeting with the Kaduna State Executive Council at the Government House in Kaduna on Monday.
Ms Nbori-Ngacha said the state’ plan to provide ante-natal care for at least 90% of pregnant women where all pregnant women in the state would have access to preventive services., and the resources it has released for HIV response are indicative of its commitment to eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
She said the team also noted that the prevalence of the HIV/AIDS has reduced in the state.
“I want to say that the HIV prevalence trend is going down and has continued to go down. Although the ongoing HIV/AIDS Indicator Survey would give us the current prevalence rate, early indicators have shown that the prevalence trend is on the downward trend. There is also an upward trend in the coverage of essential services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, treatment of children as well as adolescent and young person services,’’ she said.
Nbori-Ngacha, however, raised alarm over deaths among adolescent and young persons, which she noted had continued to rise in the state, while that of children and adult was going down.
“We need to accelerate actions at finding the adolescent, test them and put the positive on treatment and keep them on treatment,” she said.
She called on the media, communities, families and relevant stakeholders to join hands with UNICEF in ensuring that these adolescents are found and treated.
HIV PREVALENCE IN KADUNA STATE.
Kaduna state had since 2016 been making steady progress in reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence from an all high 9% to 0.2% in 2016. According to the Commissioner for Health, Professor Andrew Nok, “Kaduna State has been adjudged the best state in the test of HIV/AIDS in the country. This has earned the state two consecutive United Nations AIDS test awards. We won first prize in the first round of Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, MNCH, Week because we were able to test 84,000 pregnant women from 12 of the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State. “For the second round, we expanded to all the 23 LGAs, and successfully screened 126,398 pregnant women in five days.”