United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF on Thursday in Kaduna said it has selected Kaduna State as one of the states for the implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision to end HIV/AIDS in Nigeria by the year 2020.
Dr. Dorothy Mbori-Ngacha in charge of Children and HIV/AIDS Programme (UNICEF) Nigeria, who disclosed this during a media briefing held at Kaduna Field UNICEF office Thursday after the end of her three days visit to Kaduna, said UNICEF is working round the clock to ensure that HIV/AIDS transmission rate is reduced drastically among children.
According to Mbori-Ngacha, strategic measures have been put in place to support Kaduna government to prevent new cases of HIV/AIDS in children, particularly in the area of Mother to Child transmission.
She also revealed that UNICEF would give free treatment to identified and captured infected children in Kaduna.
While commending Kaduna State government as one of the states in the nation that is doing well in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS, she said UNICEF has concluded plans to assist where there are barriers, challenges and areas of intervention.
“Remember that recently President Buhari was in New York, and he spoke to the world and said he wants to see the end on AIDS in Nigeria by 2020 and so Kaduna State has been selected as fast-track to begin the implementation of that vision,” she stated.
Mbori-Ngacha, who described as unfortunate a situation where children are lagging behind in treatment of HIV/AIDS across Nigeria, observed that “this is a sad scenario that is like adults are eating and children staying hungry.
“So we at UNICEF will work with the state to really see how we can identify children living with HIV, better improve their identification and linking them to treatment immediately.”
She equally explained that UNICEF’s target is to ensure that in the next three to five years 90% of all children living with HIV are receiving treatment in the state.
She commended the state government for prioritising the issue of HIV/AIDS and showing more interest in that regard.
In his remark, Malam Lawal Abubakar, Deputy Director, Public Health, Kaduna State Ministry of Health, said the ministry’s priority is in areas of partnership with UNICEF for early infants diagnosis and pediatric Anti-retroviral Therapy (ART).
According to him, the idea is to make sure that all the HIV exposed children that have been born in the state are tested to find out whether they are positive or negative.