Ogun State Ministry of Health through the State Action Committee of AIDS (OGSACA), has stepped up measures to curb spread of HIV, particularly prevent mother – to – child transmission in the state.
It said such measures include interacting with Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) to expand access to test by pregnant women who are not making themselves available for Anti Natal Care (ANC) service in state government recognised healthcare entres.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, made this known at a news conference to mark year 2022 edition of World AIDS Day.
The theme of 2022 World AIDS Day is
“Equalise” breaking into Equalise To End AIDS; Equal Access To Prevention; Equal Access To Treatment.”
Coker, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Kehinde Oladehinde, said that many expectant mothers still make use of TBAs, noting that it is risk factor on Mother to Child transmission.
She revealed that through several efforts aimed at testing more people by adopting various channels, the state was able to identify over 5,000 new cases in the state this year.
She said, “We are doing what we call targeted testing, where we test people we can refer to as high risk, we are also doing community testing, we are also doing one stop shop, where people, who cannot just walk into any health care facilities because of stigmatization and discrimination, get tested. So we are providing environment, where they can just walk in and do the test. This is where we are able to get like 5000 out of them this year.
“It is a great effort and we must appreciate the government for that effort, if we are not doing this all this 5,000 people will just be roaming about and be spreading it.
“If we rest on our oars and limit ouself that it is only the pregnant women that come to our PHC that we are focusing for testing, we shall be missing a lot of them. That was why we embarked on mapping exercise to TBAs identification so that moving forward, we can reach the pregnant women going there so that once they are tested positive of HIV, they will be linked with health centres where they can access prevention treatment.”
Reeling out statistics of HIV situation in
Ogun State, Coker said 45,965 persons, are estimated to be living with HIV as of November 30th, 2022, while 5,406 tested positive in November.
The Commissioner advocated for proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and end AIDs with equal access to prevention, care, testing and treatment services, to achieve a free HIV/AIDS generation by the year 2030.
Coker said, “over the last few years, progress towards HIV goals has stalled, resources have shrunk, and numerous lives were at risk as a result.
She said “Before the ART surge in 2019, Ogun state was able to place a total of 18,431 PLHIV on drugs.
“But as of November 2022, we have successfully placed over 28, 639 on ARVs out of the 45,965 that are estimated to be leaving with the virus leaving a treatment gap of about 17, 326. Our status stands at 63:97:94 on Vision 95:95:95 goal.”
Coker therefore called for “improved knowledge, attitudes, and behavioral activities across the state through various enlightenment programmes on our campuses, televisions and radio programs, billboards, hand bills.
Stating some of the activities of the state to curtail the spread of HIV, Coker said, “We are increasing our comprehensive treatment sites from 22 to 26, provision of Health Insurance Services for the people in the State through the Ogun State Health Insurance Agency (OGSHIA) in conjunction with Basic Health care Provision fund.
“Adoption of the National Health Financing policy with the major objective of promoting equity and access to quality and affordable health care.”
She identified improved knowledge, attitude and behavioral activities across the State, through various enlightenment programmes in schools and campuses, media, as well as activations of Key Populations (KPs) friendly centres across the State as factors that could enhance the KPs’ access to prevention and treatment services, among others.
Coker noted that the present government had intensified efforts to halt the spread of HIV and AIDS by opening One-Stop Shop (OSS) solely for the treatment of KPs, routine data monitoring and supervision, situation analyses of Ogun State HIV services through coordination meetings, and many more
Earlier in his address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Alhaji Waheed Adesina said his Ministry would continue to support OGSACA on public enlightenment, advising people to be cautious of the virus, so as not to be infected.
Alhaji Adesina pointed out that the virus was not a death sentence, hence stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS should be stopped, promising that the Ministry would continue to sensitise the populace on the virus.
He added that “if we can control COVID-19, we can also control the spread of HIV/AIDS. Let people know that being HIV positive is not the end of life, and show love to those who are infected to win the war permanently”.
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