By Asmau Ahmad
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has renewed the commitment of the Federal Government to remove barriers for seamless access to HIV and AIDS interventions toward halting the spread of infection in Nigeria.
The minister made this known in Abuja during the dissemination meeting of Alere HIV Combo Rapid Test Kit 2018 Evaluation Report and inauguration of operational guidelines for HIV self-testing in Nigeria.
Adewole said, “we need to establish the link between testing and treatment,’’ adding that the goal could be achieved by removing all the barriers and charges relating to the condition.
“All those charges must disappear.
“Whatever names we call it, we need to remove them; if we do not remove them when people tested positive they may find it difficult to move forward toward treatment.
“There is going to be a meeting today to look at how to re-strategise it and go beyond the rhetoric of banning service charges.
“We are working on modalities to empower civil society organisations and people living with HIV and AIDS to act as monitors so that where these service charges were being collected they (People Living With HIV and AIDs) will act as feedback mechanism,’’ he said.
The minister renewed the commitment of government toward eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV.
“Our goal is that no Nigerian child should be born with HIV in this century, it has happened in many settings, we can replicate it forward.’’
The minister said the operational guideline for the delivery of HIV self-testing in Nigeria 2018 was developed for effective implementation of HIV self-Testing in Nigeria.
He added that the guidelines outline the principles for HIV Self -Testing delivery approaches and packages, quality assurance and coordination for HIV self- testing in Nigeria.