‘Hands Up for HIV Prevention’ on World AIDS Day in Namu

‘Hands Up for HIV Prevention’ on World AIDS Day in Namu

The 2016 World AIDS Day (1st December) will remain a memorable day for Namu Community, in Plateau state as Caritas Nigeria in collaboration with St. Virgilius Catholic Hospital, Namu, marked it in a very unique and impactful way.

 

It was double fortune as the date coincided with a technical assistance visit from Caritas Nigeria project team to St. Virgillus Namu, one of her key partner facilities in Plateau state. And in line with this year’s World AIDS Day theme: ‘Hands up for HIV prevention’, it was truly ‘Hands Up’ affair all across Namu town.

The celebration kicked off with visiting Caritas Nigeria team, dressed in their resplendent red, blue and white branded T-shirts joining with staff of the hospital to have an exciting photo session where they all held their hands up to display various HIV prevention messages boldly written on their palms.  Among the messages were ‘Sex Education’, ‘Equal Access’, Gender Equality,’ ‘Social Protection’, ‘Zero discrimination’ etc.

After the photo session, both teams launched a mini awareness campaign to nearby communities around the hospital. The focus was on HIV/AIDS prevention, and testing services available at the hospital. Caritas Nigeria’s Community services expert, Mr. Adelaja went further to conduct interviews with some of the locals to sample their opinions on issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, its prevention and particularly the problem of discrimination. The initial skepticism and curiosity that greeted him later turned into open acceptance and participation when they understood what the exercise was about and they readily subjected themselves to be interviewed. Majority of those interviewed had some knowledge of HIV/AIDS and could site at least one method of preventing transmission. A few beautiful placards were designed with similar messages and were carried around by the staff.

St. Virgilius Namu is a missionary hospital run by the Catholic Church in Nigeria. The facility is administered by Rev. Sr. Martin de Porres, who with her team of dedicated and committed staff offer among other services, HIV/AIDS comprehensive care and treatment services to over 700 clients. The hospital is currently the only facility offering such services to the numerous communities around the area. Over the years, the number of clients placed on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) has increased steadily due to the determination of staff of the hospital to go the extra mile in their bid to get more HIV positive clients from among the communities placed on ARVs.

Overall, it was a very uplifting experience for the team as the efforts impacted positively on the community, especially those living with HIV/AIDS.

Report and pictures courtesy of Lawrencia Agur, Pharmacy and Logistics Advisor, Caritas Nigeria

 

 

 

cART Partners Forum in Gboko

PMVs at the eventCaritas Nigeria has begun a two-day meeting in Gboko, Benue State with all partners and service providers in her Community Anti-Retroviral Treatment (cART) program.

The exercise which commenced this morning (April 10, 2017) is led by the Caritas Nigeria community ART technical team and is geared towards reorienting its partners at the community level to boost the effectiveness and impact of community ART program in Benue state.

Dr. Fadare, Snr Technical Advisor anchoring provides insight into the cART program

Participants at the meeting comprises community-based pharmacies, patent medicine vendors (PMVs) and administrators of Comprehensive Care and Treatment (CCT) sites that serve as hubs to the PMVs, as well as supervisory and roving team  members for the cART program. The local government areas (LGAs) currently involved include Gwer West, Logo and Ushongo of Benue state.

 

The cART is  a strategy designed to increase access of people living with HIV to treatment services at the grassroots. It is a component of the PEPFAR-funded SUSTAIN program of Caritas Nigeria which has entered its fifth year of operation and has made tremendous impact in each of the twelve states where it has been implemented including Benue.

Caritas Nigeria Program Manager, Donald Akpenna making a presentation

Since it was flagged off nine months ago the cART program has tested  a total of 12873 persons with about 438 positives placed on care and treatment.

 

CDC HIV & TB Symposium

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), organized a two-day HIV & TB Intervention Symposium for all her Implementing Partners (IPs) in Nigeria.

The event which took place at Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja on the 13th and 14th of November 2017, was designed to highlight the achievements of IPs in the country and forge a way forward for the future.

Each IP, including Caritas Nigeria, gave a brief overview of their five year HIV & TB program activities.

On the first day, Caritas Nigeria, through its Senior Technical Assistant, Dr. Wale Fadare, made a presentation which showcased the SUSTAIN programs Community ART (cART) platforms such as the use of eRangers to access hard-to-reach areas as well the Congregational approach for PMTCT. During one of the Panel Discussion sessions, Project Director, Dr. John Oko responded to questions from the audience on the efficiency, cost-effectiveness and lessons learnt from implementation of the cART program. {gallery}cdcsymposium{/gallery}

One of the centres of attraction at the event was Caritas Nigeria’s booth where its recently commissioned documentary on the SUSTAIN program was streamed for participants to view. Visitors to the booth were also excited to pick copies of Caritas Nigeria’s Strategic Plan, Fact sheet, Annual Report, PMD Pro flyers, and Quality Improvement Standard Operating Protocol (SOP).

Worth mentioning was the recognition accorded by CDC to Caritas Nigeria for their Quality Improvement (QI) SOP, a manual which most IPs did not have.
The CDC-sponsored Symposium had in attendance, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac F. Adewole, Director General of NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu, US Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. W. Stuart Symington and CDC Atlanta representatives amongst several other stakeholders.

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