The National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) is building the capacity of People Living with HIV and AIDS to strengthen their access to efficient HIV services in Kaduna State.
Mr Umar Jimeta, Programme Officer, Society for Women Development and Empowerment of Nigeria (SWODEN), the implementing partner, made this known in Kaduna on Monday.
Jimeta said at the opening of a five-day capacity strengthening of key and vulnerable populations, that the effort was to make HIV interventions more strategic and impactful.
He said that the training 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 said 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).
“There is also the key population which constitutes people who inject drugs, men who have sex with men, transgender persons, sex workers and prisoners, among 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 said.
The programme officer said that NACA is supporting the intervention in 10 states of the federation, including Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Abuja, Niger, Kogi, and Jigawa.
He said that more than 1.8 million people were living with the virus in the country, with 65 per cent of them receiving treatment.
He noted that the virus had claimed 44,830 lives in 2019, adding that more than 100,000 new infections were equally recorded in the same year.
Contributing, Dr Isah Baka, Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Aids Control Agency, thanked 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, adding 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 said that the state government was committed to providing the needed resources to implement high impact HIV programmes that would further reduce HIV prevalence in the state from 1.1 per cent to zero per cent.
On his part, Mr Aliyu Sada, Assistant Secretary, NEPWAN, Kaduna State Chapter, also commended NACA, the state government and development partners for the effort to improve access to HIV services.
He said the training would help to address the problem of stigmatisation, adherence to treatment and take HIV drugs closer to the people for easy access.