All around the world, the Catholic Church is one of the biggest health providers. In Nigeria, the Catholic Church has 1384 Health facilities mostly spread across underserved and hard-to-reach communities in the 36 states of Nigeria, providing varying levels of healthcare delivery services and humanitarian assistance to the poor, vulnerable and excluded persons regardless of race or religion.
Sustainable HIV/AIDS care and Treatment Action In Nigeria (SUSTAIN) Program
Caritas Nigeria is currently implementing the five years comprehensive HIV care, prevention and treatment grant titled Sustainable HIV Care and Treatment Action in Nigeria (SUSTAIN) funded by the United States Government through the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Caritas Nigeria is one of the five CDC Nigeria’s Lead Implementing Partners with the mandate to coordinate HIV care and treatment interventions in faith based health facilities. The goal of the program is “Morbidity and mortality due to HIV infection is reduced in Nigeria.”
The SUSTAIN Project works through faith based health facilities to target people living and affected by HIV and AIDS in underserved and hard to reach communities in 12 states in Nigeria. The goal of the project is to saturate all faith based health facilities with required HIV care and treatment services in communities where there are needs. SUSTAIN provides value-based prevention education, treatment, care and support to people living with or affected by HIV in Nigeria. In line with the national plan to eliminate Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT), SUSTAIN has a strong focus on preventing new infections in women of childbearing age, creating demand for uptake of antenatal care, and providing access to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) services for pregnant mothers.
The SUSTAIN Project presently supports about 100,000 people living and affected with HIV and AIDS with necessary services across 120 sites comprising of comprehensive care and treatment healthcare facilities, stand-alone PMTCT facilities and community based organizations. Caritas Nigeria currently works in 12 states of Nigeria, namely; Benue, Delta, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kogi, Nassarawa, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Plateau States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Caritas Nigeria’s priority on the SUSTAIN Project is in line with the priority of the Government of Nigeria and CDC Nigeria to scale up HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment services in Nigeria. Caritas Nigeria’s focus is to strengthen the health systems in faith based healthcare facilities and the capacity of coordinating faith based health departments and organizations to support the national agenda while we continue to expand services to underserved communities and improve the quality of services. It advocates with governments, international organizations and drug companies for universal access to cost-effective and suitable medicines.
Caritas Nigeria is focused on improving the quality of services across all service delivery points by providing regular technical assistance, onsite and offsite training and mentoring, strengthen our strategic information program and promoting operational research activities.
The followings are some notable accomplishments of Caritas Nigeria’s work on the SUSTAIN program:
HIV Care, Treatment and Prevention
• 77,083 adults and children provided with care
• 46,656 adults and children with HIV infection are receiving antiretroviral therapy (current).
• 110,180 pregnant women were tested for HIV.
• 7,190 HIV positive pregnant women received ARVs to prevent transmission of HIV to their children.
• 406,091 individuals received counselling and testing services for HIV.
• 7,892 Orphans and Vulnerable Children received support services.
• 4,817 individuals (in-school and out-of-school youths) reached with HIV prevention interventions.