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HIV prevalence higher in urban areas — Expert

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HIV prevalence higher in urban areas — Expert

By Solaade Ayo-Aderele

The National HIV Sentinel Survey of 2008 has revealed a national HIV prevalence rate of 4.6 per cent in Nigeria.

The prevalence varies by state, ranging from one per cent to 10.6 per cent, and was generally higher in urban than rural areas except in nine states and the Federal Capital Territory.

However, for efficient delivery of health care services, especially in the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, the nation’s primary health care services must be overhauled and strengthened.

This was the summary of the recently released data on the international and national action to fight the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

According to the Director of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Prof. John Idoko, the percentage increased within the age group of 25-29 years, and it declined among older populations.

Again, he said, it was higher among singles than married; and also higher among women with only primary and secondary school education.

Before now, experts have expressed concern that the nation’s health system has several weaknesses that affect the efficient delivery of health services, recommending the overhaul of the sector.

Idoko noted that insufficient decentralisation of services affects the primary health care facilities in rural areas, saying, “Very often, a lack of human resources and weak linkages between the different levels of health care affect the delivery of all health services.”

Continuing, he said, “The state of the health infrastructure, of public-private partnerships as well as the procurement and supply management system are other weaknesses of the nation’s health system.”

Sequel to the constraints noted in the health sector, Idoko said, “four mutually reinforcing cross-cutting HSS interventions will be implemented, with the sole aim of making them to support the implementation of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria interventions.”

The efforts, Idoko argued, “encompass measures to strengthen the primary health care service system; to strengthen supply chain management in the country (to ensure consistent access to quality and safe drugs at the facilities receiving support); to improve the national health information system; and to address community systems strengthening.”

This ATM intervention builds on the programme that is being supported through the eighth and ninth rounds of the Global Fund financing, which supports the provision of comprehensive adult Anti Retroviral Therapy services in five sites in each of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

In addition to the secondary care facilities, Idoko said, this programme will be implemented by involving functional primary health care facilities that will be strengthened using the HSS components, thus making them the foundation for effective community based ATM interventions and other primary health care outreach services.

He also disclosed that through the programme, the gap in access and coverage of HIV services to rural communties will be bridged by the further decentralisation of HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support services to the primary health centre and at community levels; while also expanding ART services through the establishment of 194 new ART sites in secondary health facilities.

“This programme is also meant to scale up the prevention of mother-to-child transmission interventions, and will contribute to the national goal of expanding HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support in Nigeria in order to reduce HIV incidence and its associated morbidity and mortality,” the NACA DG said.

In all, the programme will scale up gender sensitive HIV prevention services among children and adults in the country; facilitate better access to the treatment of chronic HIV/AIDS infection among adults and children; scale-up gender sensitive care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and orphans and vulnerable children; create a supportive environment for delivery of comprehensive gender sensitive HIV/AIDS services; and enhance the management and coordination of HIV/AIDS programs in the country. - Nigerian news, Health & Beauty news, naija, Nigeria, West Africa

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Updated 7 Years ago

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