Nigeria launches national HIV mentorship programme
Gloria Essien, Abuja
The Nigerian government has launched the National HIV Mentorship Programme.
The objective of the programme is to enable the country to meet the UNAID 95,95,95 target haven missed the 90, 90, 90 target set for the year 2020.
The Nigerian minister of state for health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora and the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Marybeth Leonard launched programmes in Abuja.
The minister said that the past two years have been very challenging for HIV due to COVID-19.
“ I’m happy to note that Nigeria did not meet the 90, 90, 90 target but we are on the way to achieving 95 95 95 targets and the National Clinical Mentorship Programme will help in providing motivation for health workers and support state mentorship programmes across Nigerian”. Dr. Mamora said.
He noted that strong partnership continues to be the hallmark of Nigeria’s HIV eradication efforts.
He stressed that the initiative was well positioned to address inequalities in service.
Also, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Marybeth Leonard, in her remark, said that the mentorship programme aims to deepen government commitment to the fight against HIV.
She said that the US remains committed to the eradication of HIV in the world.
She added that the National HIV Clinical Mentorship Programme will strengthen the implementation of task shifting and promote continuous professional education.
Similarly, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of Aids, Dr Aliyu Gambo, said that the programme which was being test run in Rivers state south south Nigeria has proven to be effective.
” This is the outcome of six months of hard work. As you know, we are in the last stage of fighting HIV and it comes with a lot of challenges“. Dr. Gambo said.
He said that right now, Nigeria has one point six million people on treatment and will need more professional training for quality care, which the mentorship programme will provide.
“We want to make sure that the success is sustained. At the end of the day, we should see a reduction in stigma“. He added.
The representative of the UNAIDS, Mr. Richard Amenyah said that Nigeria is taking the right steps towards HIV eradication.
He noted that the government of Nigeria is doing a lot to curb the spread of AIDS and partners have donated millions of dollars and success would be achieved.
“We need to put mechanisms in place to continue to sustain Clinical mentorship which will help healthcare providers in doing their jobs. If we achieve epidemic control in Nigeria, Nigeria will share its experiences and the model it adopted with other parts of Africa”. Amenyah said.
Speaking on the launch from Geneva, Margaret Zanzu of the Global Fund, said that the organization would continue to give Nigeria its full support and commitment.
She said that Nigeria is a leading country in Africa and should always lead the way.
The National Coordinator, of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, NEPWHAN, Mr. Ibrahim Abdullahi, said that the mentorship programme was being launched at the right time.
He said that NEPWHAN will continue to push for testing till Nigeria achieves the last ninety.
The Clinical mentorship programme is said to be a comprehensive approach to capacity building.
It enables health care workers to practice new skills in clinical settings with the support and guidance of more specialized and experienced clinicians.
The programme also supports the decentralization of HIV services.
The Nigerian government launched the mentorship programme in collaboration with the US CDC, the USAID, the Global Fund, WHO and other stakeholders in the health sector.