From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Nigeria AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) has declared that the result of the survey on HIV/AIDS carried out across the country would help the Government to carryout a better plan for the affected persons.
Member of the National Technical Committee of NAIIS, Dr.Greg Ashefor, told Newsmen on Thursday at Eleme Local Government of Rivers State, during the monitoring exercise of the ongoing survey organized by Federal Government in partner with CDC USA, NACA, NAIIS, UNICEF, WHO among Others.
Ashefor, who is also a Head of Department Director in the Research Medical Evaluation National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA)said the ongoing survey to know the number of persons with HIV/AIDS conducted in the country with the theme “For health families, HIV and viral Hepatitis free generation” would help government to know the number of persons affected with the diseases in the country and to provide adequate treatment and care for the patients.
“The households survey conducted for 2018 will help to plan better for HIV/AID care and services, it will also enhance the linkage of HIV positive persons to care and also determine the spread of hepatitis A and B in the country.
He said that the response of persons in various communities in Rivers State where the survey was ongoing among the six States in the Web two was commendable.
“Rivers State, Ondo, Anambara, Jigawa, Kaduna and Kwara State’s were the six States mapped out for the survey and the response coming from Rivers State is above 90 percent so it’s quite commendable; am not surprise because there was enough calls, awareness and mobilization on ground before we started the programme,” he said.
Ashefor said that the aim of the survey was for Nigerians to know their health status and to also get the statistics of the acurrate number of persons with HIV and Hepatitis as it was estimated in 2017 that 3.2million persons were leaving with HIV/AIDS in the country.
He said that the tested and affected persons after the survey would be contacted and referred to the health facilities of their choice where they would be receiving free treatment.
“Those individuals interviewed, drawn blood and tested positive will be contacted and our reffer team will tell them hospitals where they will chose to go for treatment.
” Some of them may not want to go for the treatment but our team will come back after there results are out to take them to the facilities of their choice, “Ashefor stated.
Speaking with The AUTHORITY, South South Team Leader of team nine in NAIIS, Mr Fidelis Ockri said that the response of people in Rivers was 90 to 95 percent in record.
Ockri said that the community households were welcoming.
He said that about 400 persons were interview, about 300 persons that were tested, the result showed nine persons positive within the days of the exercise.
” We used various methods to conduct the test and we have nine persons tested positive as at today, we don’t know if the number of persons will increase or not,”he said.
He said that some communities were complaining that government should have spread the exercise to every communities in the state to enable them benefit from the exercise.
“One of the challenges we are facing is that some people are reluctant to give their blood for testing but the response so far is encouraging.
“Some of them who were tested positive during the last survey said they were unable to continue with the treatment because some of the hospitals they use for treatment were charging them money for their treatment”.
He called on government to spread the exercise to more communities and States to reach it’s goal on HIV and Hepatitis free generation.
One of the respondents at the exercise, Ms Blessing George, called on Nigerian youths to embrace the exercise and know their status.
George also called on government to sustain the exercise by making sure they tell those affected with HIV and also treatment them.
Another respondent, Mr Maxwell Ayira from Ebubu community commended the organizers of the survey and called on them to sustain the programme to enable Nigeria to be a HIV free country.