By Hassan Zaggi
The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu, has launched a national consolidated service delivery guideline on HIV and STIs for key populations in Nigeria.
While launching the document in Abuja, Tuesday, he revealed that it will provide guidance packages of HIV and STI services and performance indicators for monitoring and evaluation of these services across the country.
The document will be an important tool in the delivery of health services, support efforts towards strengthening HIV and AIDS prevention, care and treatment programs; and address cross-cutting issues such as stigma, violence, and mental health as critical enablers of service delivery.
“These guidelines are intended to redefine the existing approaches and serve as reference for the delivery of all facility-based and community-based HIV and STI prevention, care and treatment services in the country,” Dr. Aliyu explained.
According to him, the Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey (IBBSS) showed that the national HIV prevalence is higher among key populations.
“HIV services for key populations and children of key populations remain largely inadequate, and so, the HIV incidence within this group of persons continue to increase.
“These guidelines aim to provide a comprehensive package of evidence-based HIV and STI-related recommendations for all key populations and children of key populations.
“It will increase awareness of the needs of key populations; improve access and coverage; establish standardized package of services; facilitate uptake of responsive and acceptable services; and catalyze greater national commitment and resourcing to sustain services,” Dr. Gambo reiterated.
Speaking, the Country Director US Department of Defence, Dr Laura Chittenden, noted that the launch marks what she described as an exciting milestone in improving the quality of care for those affected and infected by HIV.
“Yet globally, ensuring that HIV service packages include the goods and services specific to those most vulnerable to the disease remains a challenge,” she said.