By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised alarm over lack of treatment of children living with HIV/AIDS virus in Kaduna, resulting in the increase prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS among adolescents and youths.
This was revealed in a paper presentation tagged: “Understanding Child Protection Issues in Accessing Care and Support for Adolescents living with HIV/AIDS” by the Chairman, Global Advocate for Peace and Social Justice, Mallam Faruk Abdullahi Chiromari at a one day Media Dialogue with media practitioners held in Zaria, Kaduna State on Wednesday.
Mallam Chiromari who is also a Child Protection Expert disclosed that over 22 million people living with HIV are still not accessing anti-retro-viral therapy.
According to him, lack of access to anti-retro-viral therapy remains a cause for concern, adding that 76% of children living with HIV/AIDS are not presently receiving HIV’s treatment.
“The proportions of people who do not have access to treatment are 58% in the South Africa, 64% in India and 80% in Nigeria”
“Lack of access to anti-retro-viral therapy remains a cause for concern, 76% of children living with HIV/AIDS are not presently receiving HIV’s treatment” he lamented.
Child Protection Expert however highlighted four reasons why adolescent girls and young women are left behind which include Gender-based violence, Lack of access to health services, Lack of access to education and Policies that do not translate into action.
Mallam Chiromari informed that the only way to close the gap is ending all forms of gender based violence, ensuring access to quality health services, keeping girls in school and also empower young women and girls and challenge and change social norms.
Earlier, the UNICEF Field Officer in the State, Dr. Baba Idris pointed out that HIV in adolescents remains a big concern because there are seven Local Government Area in Kaduna that have higher prevalence of HIV among adolescents.
The Local Government Council includes Lere, Kargoko, Igabi, Chikun, Birnin-Gwari, Jaba and Ja’ama.
Dr. Idris assured that Organization has scaled up support to tackle high HIV prevalence among adolescents in theses seven local government areas of Kaduna State.
“Only seven per cent of the adolescents surveyed at the beginning of the intervention programme in March had tested and received their HIV result and the support being offered by UNICEF was on HIV prevention, treatment and care in the seven local areas”.
UNICEF Field Officer noted that in spite of the decrease in new HIV infections in the areas due to improved access to information, the rate of death among infected adolescents remained high.
He stressed that the main objective was to raise Adolescents and Young Persons (AYP) access to HIV testing from 20 to 40 per cent by the end of the intervention programme in May 2018, and increase condom usage among adolescents from 30 to 50 percent in the seven local areas.
“The programme was aimed at raising the use of anti-retro-viral therapy from 1 to 21 per cent among HIV positive persons and increases the number of schools providing Family Life Health Education from the present 25 per cent to 45 per cent.
“UNICEF has trained no less than 1, 300 persons to facilitate the success of the programme in all the local government areas.
“The programme has helped to achieve 52 per cent awareness on HIV due to improved access to information among adolescents in the seven local areas, while the number of those who had tested had gone up to 46.6 per cent” he said.