From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Recently, the federal government of Nigeria increased its pace in tackling the issue of HIV/AIDS through the ongoing 2018 survey on HIV/AIDS carried out in the country by the Nigeria AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS).
The survey is funded and supported by the United State Government, Global Funds to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, UNAIDS, WHO and other organizations.
Speaking with The AUTHORITY during the monitoring exercise of the survey in Rivers state, the National Technical Committee Member of NAIIS, Dr.Greg Ashefor, disclosed that the exercise is simultaneously going on in Jigawa, Gombe, FCT, Ogun, Rivers, and Anambra, which make up web 2.
Ashefor, who is also the Head of Department and Director of Research Medical Evaluation, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said that 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 household 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 was commendable.
Ashefor said that the aim of the survey was for Nigerians to know their health status and to also get the statistics of the accurate number of persons with HIV and Hepatitis as it was estimated in 2017 that 3.2million persons were living 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 for free treatment.
One of the South-South team leaders of NAIIS in Rivers, Mr Fidelis Ockri, said that the response of people in Rivers was 90 to 95 percent in record.
He said that about 300 persons that were tested, with 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.
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.
Ayira also called on the youths and every member of the community to make use of the opportunity to know their status.