By John Okeke
FCT stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS response has lamented that the implementation of programs was marred by the Covid-19 pandemic.
At a five-day workshop held to review the programs for 2020 and plan for 2021, the logistics focal person FCT AIDS and Control Program (FASCAP), Patience Ilupeju said 70% of the action plans for 2020 was not implemented due to the covid-19 pandemic.
“We realized that almost 70% of the programs were not implemented. We have talked about the enhancers and inhibitors, and one of our major inhibitors is that Covid-19 was a big challenge, and affected most of the implementation of our programs. We are hoping we don’t have the same experience in 2021; that all the programs we set out to achieve, that we will achieve at least up to 80-90% of them, which will go a long way in helping us with the HIV epidemic response.”
The Institution Capacity -Strengthening Advisor from Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative (AHNI), Lucy Okoye, said that AHNI through FHI360, a principal recipient of the Global Fund grant for HIV was able to fund the FCT HIV/AIDS Control Program for the first time to have its annual operational plan for 2020.
Although the plan was partly implemented due to the covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 AOP review and 2021 AOP development was organized to enable the FCT identify the enhancers and inhibitors that affected implementation; so that an environment that can strengthen enhancers and mitigate inhibitors can be created in 2021. She added that beyond service delivery that AHNI is providing to FCT, the organization is also an institutional capacity strengthening aspect of the grant, geared towards building FASCP’s capacity to secure manage donor funds for HIV/AIDS control. It is hoped that FASCAP alongside other partners will develop their annual operation plan and implement it going forward. She added that this opportunity is a learning curve for FASCAP to be able to coordinate activities.
“They are supposed to be coordinating stakeholders and implementing partners working in their state and they are supposed to be accountable. So, this is giving them that opportunity because last year like it is happening now, stakeholders were there, implementing partners were there; they all brought their plans for the next year, AHNI brought theirs, AHF brought theirs, IHVN brought theirs, Catholic Relief Services brought theirs, all other partners brought theirs. FASCAP is supposed to be coordinating activities in the state, this will also help them to make case for funding. -This AOP is capturing all health-sector-based HIV-related activities happening in the state. Implementing partners fund some, some don’t have funding, we are hoping that the state should identify those gaps and engage” she said.
The Area Council Action Committee on AIDS Coordinator for Gwagwalada, Dr. Douglas Okoye said that before now, the HIV/AIDS goal was tied around 90-90-90 but is currently being scaled up to the goal of 95-95-95.
“What I am hoping is that before the end of the program, we will be able to set various targets in certain priority areas, and subsequently before the year runs out, we will be able to achieve all the targets set in this meeting. Part of the target setting is to identify the gaps so that we will be able to fill them.”
One of the implementing partners for the HIV/AIDS response, AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) represented by the state Clinical Coordinator for FCT, Dr. Kema Onu, said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there were some setbacks in the implementation of the 2020 operational plan, however, in the course of the workshop, the team has reviewed the impact analysis and is strategizing to further reduce the scourge of HIV/AIDs in 2021. “So, we are reviewing to see impact analysis for last year, to align and identify the new normal that we need to adapt to. This is what every stakeholder is trying to achieve. So, it is purely a road map to our annual operational plan. At the end of the day, we have a documented roll out plan, it is a contributory plan from every implementing partner.”
A representative from the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDs in FCT (NEPWAN), Patience Iyakwo, said the workshop is very relevant because most of the planning is being implemented on the network, hence why they need to have first-hand information of the plans in place.
The sustainable development goals three (SDG3) is hinged on ensuring healthy lives and promoting wellbeing for all of all ages (including universal access to HIV prevention services, sexual and reproductive health services, and drug dependence treatment and harm reduction services), and a major target under this is to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.