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ANRiN Project Provides Nutrition Services to 202,500 Children in Kano

More than 209,062 women and 202,529 children under five years have received nutrition services from the Accelerating Nutrition in Nigeria (ANRiN) project being implemented by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) in nine Local Government Areas in Kano State.

ANRiN Project Director, Dr. Ishaya Madaki, who stated this, said that the project is improving the nutritional status of pregnant women through provision of iron, folic acid tablets and intermittent malaria prophylaxis.

“IHVN is also providing zinc-fortified ORS for the management of diarrhea in children 6-59 months of age. Our work is also aimed at improving vitamin A supplementation and routine deworming of children under five years. We adopted approaches such as bi-monthly communication outreaches, town hall meetings, radio jingles, and a men’s forum to sensitize men about actively supporting their wives to access and utilize the basic nutrition services,” he said.

The Project Director added that “in some communities, the women want to access care but their husbands tend to stop them because they do not know about the services that we offer. We have decided to sensitize them and are sure that with this, more women and children will benefit.”

He added that the project has more than 220 community volunteers combing Bunkure, Dala, Fagge, Gwale, Kano Municipal, Kumbotso, Nasarawa Tarauni and Wudil Local Government Areas in Kano State to provide nutrition services.

Project beneficiaries have said that the ANRiN project has improved the health of their families. 38-year-old Hajara Ahmed from Bunkure LGA said that she has seen many positive changes in her children. An ANRiN community volunteer visited their home to educate them about hygiene and good nutrition. “The community volunteer gave us Zinc ORC, micronutrients, vitamin A, and albendazole tablets. My daughter who was ill with diarrhea, is now healthy,” she said.

Another beneficiary, Sadiya Abubakar, said that “My husband is hardly around because his job requires him to always be on the road – he is a driver. We do not have a pharmacy in this community, that is why I could not take my children for treatment.”

She was relieved when a community volunteer educated her and administered medications to her ten-month and two-year-old children respectively.

IHVN, AFM, FCT Fire Service Collaborate on Fire Safety

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has collaborated with Africa Fire Mission (AFM) and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Fire Service to train firefighters from Baze University, National Judicial Institute (NJI), Nile University and National Open University Nigeria (NOUN) on fire safety.

More than 25 Safety and Security Officers representing the organizations participated in the four-day training on “Advancing Firefighting Operations, Tactics and Leadership” held in the IHVN Campus in Abuja.

IHVN Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, Dr. Charles Olalekan Mensah who welcomed participants to the training said that partnership with the Fire Service and organizations located in the  IHVN Campus environs is important to forestall fire incidences in the vicinity.

AFM facilitated the training and conducted a needs assessment to identify tools and equipment needed to further develop FCT Fire Service. AFM also donated firefighting equipment like firefighting coats, boots, gloves, suspenders and helmets to them for enhanced effectiveness in responding to fire incidents, saving lives, property, and critical infrastructure.

AFM Co-Founder and Executive Director, Nancy Moore, said that “the hands-on training was focused on preparedness for IHVN’s partners in the Committee of Stakeholders on general safety and security of Cadastral Zone C00 Abuja FCT.”

Head of Operations, FCT Fire Service, Engr. Adesina Abioye, stated that the training has updated Fire Service Staff with modern professional ways of rescue and firefighting, and served as a refresher course on fire prevention and administration for the Senior Staff who participated.  “The importance of the partnership cannot be overemphasized; it has brought tremendous benefits to the partners and the stakeholders community. What would have cost the FCT administration a huge sum of money was made available at no cost due to partnership,” he said.

IHVN, RSUTH host US Consul General on Visit

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has joined the Rivers State Government in welcoming the US Consul General, Mr. Will Stevens, to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, PortHarcourt on a visit.

IHVN Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, Dr. Charles Olalekan Mensah said that with funding from the US Government through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), IHVN has supported the HIV program in the facility to test more than 56,000 people for HIV and enroll more than 1,900 people for antiretroviral treatment from April 2019 to September 2023.

Dr. Mensah noted that the hospital has done excellently in caring for patients and providing accurate data on the HIV program. He thanked the US government for its funding support.

“On behalf of all the patients in this facility who receive HIV services, we thank you for your leadership. Since 2019 when we started providing HIV services in the state, the state government has been supportive. We ask that we are resourced more to enable the facility to do more,” he said.

Mr. Stevens toured the IHVN-supported PCR laboratory in the hospital which supports over 180 health facilities in Rivers and neighboring states with EID and viral load tests. The PCR laboratory analyses close to 3000 samples daily. He also interacted with mothers who have benefitted from the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV services provided at the facility and have HIV-free children.

The US Consul General said that the success of the HIV program in the facility and the state is a result of working together.

“United States is committed to partnering with the continent and working with this beautiful, amazing country to find a path forward on the challenges that face us, in climate change, health issues, and youth unemployment to work on and solve these problems together. I am grateful to be here. I love seeing how we are working together to help save lives,” he said.

Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Adaeze Oreh, said that the Rivers State Government appreciates the support of the US government for the support to close significant gaps in the care of people living with HIV/AIDS in Rivers State.

“The impact of this is that having more people know their status, being placed on treatment and with viral load suppression helps in the journey towards destigmatizing the ailment and this is key to the focus on health for all in Rivers State,” she said.

Global Fund Awards Nigeria $9 Million to Address HIV, TB, Malaria

The Honourable Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammed Ali Pate has launched the Global Fund Grant Cycle 7 award of $933, 156,931 to Nigeria to address HIV, tuberculosis and malaria from 2024-2026.

Prof. Pate, also the Chairman of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism, unveiled the award in Abuja. He stated that one of the expected results from the grant on HIV is that the country achieves the UNAIDS  95-95- 95 goal of ensuring that  95% of the people who are living with HIV know their HIV status, placing  95% of the people who know that they are living with HIV on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment, and making sure that 95% of people who are on treatment are being virally suppressed by 2025.

“It is a tall order and we will be very diligent and we hope there will be no fuzzy numbers. The mandate is also to scale of service among all the vulnerable populations and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services using the primary health care system as part of the sector-wide effort.

On tuberculosis, the goal is to increase the case notification rate for all forms of TB from where it is to sustain the current TB success rate beyond the initial target of 90% during this grant period; and to enroll 100% of drug-resistant TB patients on appropriate treatment by 2026. For malaria, the focus will be on improving access and utilization of vector control interventions and ensuring the provision of chemo prevention, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment for 80% of the target population,” he said.

The Coordinating Minister called on Principal Recipients of the grant to use the resources judiciously to deliver services.

“This CCM is committing itself to monitor and to have a robust framework for tracking the resources of governmental and non-governmental actors in a transparent manner.  We will ensure it happens because we signed a contract stating we will do that. I want to assure the donors that we will use these resources judiciously.

The grant will be implemented by Principal Recipients, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the National AIDS and STDs Control Programme (NASCP), National Tuberculosis, Leprosy & Buruli Ulcer Control Programme (NTBLCP), Institute for Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and the Lagos State Ministry of Health.

Also at the event, Global Fund representative, Maria Kirova, congratulated the country for the successes recorded in addressing AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

“I’m pleased also to share with you the news that Nigeria has recorded one of the highest resource utilization rates of Global fund resources in the Grant Cycle 6 – more than 95%. That is a testament to your good work. We have no doubt that with all your leadership, mobilization, commitment, and expertise, the country will continue to drive a successful implementation path forward. I would like to reiterate the Global Fund’s commitment to fully collaborate with the CCM-Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Principal Recipients, and other partners, under the leadership of the honorable Coordinating Minister to ensure a successful implementation of the Grant Cycle 7,” she said.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Dr. Patrick Dakum assured the country and the international community of the commitment of the Principal Recipients to program efficiency and financial accountability.

“Our driving force is that at the end of the grant period, the country, the Country Coordinating Mechanism, and the Global Fund will be proud of our efforts. We will work assiduously to deliver the required services to Nigerians. As Principal Recipients, our role is to ensure that the sub-recipients deliver HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria services with accountability,” he said.

Representatives from bilateral, and multilateral partners, the United Nations, the US Government, legislature, international non-governmental organizations, civil society, and the legislature participated in the launch of the Global Fund GC7 grant.

Institute Receives Awards for Quality HIV Prevention Services

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has received awards for outstanding provision of HIV prevention services for People who Inject Drugs (PWID), and for quality reporting of gender-based violence services.

IHVN Prevention Lead, Mrs. Comfort Ochigbo officially presented the awards to the Institute’s management represented by IHVN Chief Operating Officer/Managing Director, Dr. Charles Olalekan Mensah.

Mrs. Ochigbo said that the award from FHI-360 was for the excellent provision of prevention services to more than 9,900 PWID in Rivers State from April 2022 to December 2023

“IHVN provided these services as a sub-recipient to FHI-360 on the Global Fund National Aligned HIV/AIDS Initiative Grant (NAHI). In 23 Local Government Areas of the state, we provided community naloxone distribution to prevent death from opioid overdose, medical-assisted therapy assessment, condom distribution, and peer outreaches. IHVN also promoted safe injection practices, and implemented evidence-based interventions using hot-spot analysis,” she said.

Mrs. Ochigbo added that the Institute worked with the Rivers State Ministry of Health, Rivers State Agency for the Control of AIDS, the Global Initiative for Health and Rights, and Diadem Consults.

“We organized frequent joint meetings with stakeholders like the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Police Command, local vigilante groups, youth groups, religious leaders and lawyers for an enabling environment for services to get to PWIDs.”

According to her, other approaches adopted that led to excellent delivery of prevention services in the state include, providing peer volunteers working in the community with identity cards, branded bags, and face caps with the national emblem. A social media group was also formed to share relevant information.

Mrs. Ochigbo noted that the second award was from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs for excellent large-scale reporting of gender-based violence data on the National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Dashboard.

“After receiving training from the Ministry, we stepped down the training to staff from 70 of our supported facilities. They reported Gender-Based Violence cases, referral services, survivors who received post-GBV care services, GBV cases prosecuted amongst other indicators,” she said.

IHVN emerged as the second-best organization and the only PEPFAR Implementing partner to report quality large-scale report program data.