HIV/AIDS: UNICEF targets 2020 to end mother-to-child new cases in Kaduna
//Shola Creates, Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria//
Following support its getting from Kaduna State government as regarding HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday expressed optimism that by the year 2020, all new cases of mother-to-child transmission of the virus would have been nipped in the bud.
A Senior HIV/AIDS Specialist with UNICEF, Dorothy Mbori-Ngacha, who stated this shortly after she and her team met with the State’s Executive Council at Government House Kaduna explained that, to achieve the target, UNICEF intend to reach no fewer than 90 percent pregnant women both in rural and urban centres with sole aim of making them having access to preventive services within their reach.
According to her, the State government was committed to achieving the target considering the resources its about to release for HIV response though she declined to reveal the statistics involved until it is officially released by the State’s executive council.
She said, “we had the opportunity of sharing with the governor and his executive council what the vision is, where the Kaduna State is and where we want the state to be in 2018.
“On where Kaduna is, i want to say that the HIV prevalence trend is going down and we want it to continue going downward trend especially among old people. Although the ongoing HIV/AIDS Indicator Survey would give us the currently prevalence rate, early indictors have shown that the prevalence trend is on the downward trend.
“There is also an upward trend in the coverage of essential services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, treatment of children as well as adolescence and young persons services”, added UNICEF specialist.
However, Mbori-Ngacha expressed concern over increase of new cases of HIV among adolescence and young persons in the state, while that of children and adult was going down due to measures put in place by UNICEF in conjunction with the state.
“We noted that for adolescence and young people, we really needed to do more because it has been discovered that the prevalence is increasing among this group of persons. We needed to take action to accelerate actions at finding the adolescence, test them and put those that tested positive on treatment and keep them on treatment.
“There is therefore, the need to engage the communities, families, the media and other relevant stakeholders to make sure we are able to reach the adolescence wherever they may be in the state,” she said.