Home News FG unveils toolkit to enhance early infant HIV diagnosis

FG unveils toolkit to enhance early infant HIV diagnosis

by Haruna Gimba

By Iyemah David

The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, through the National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and STIs Control Programme (NASCP) has launched the Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) Optimization Toolkit.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, at the launch on Thursday in Abuja, said that the initiative aims to enhance paediatric HIV Early Infant Diagnosis services in Taraba and Rivers States.

Pate, was represented by Dr Adebobola Bashorun, National Coordinator of NASCP, highlighted that the toolkit was a collaborative effort with the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and the Ministry.

He said that the joint initiative signified a significant step forward in advancing healthcare quality in Taraba and Rivers States.

“The EID Optimization Toolkit stands as a valuable resource for ongoing efforts to enhance early infant diagnosis services and improve the overall well-being of communities,” he said.

He said that the toolkit outlined processes, tools, and recommendations for implementing Quality Improvement systematically.

“It not only targets EID program indicators but also extends its applicability to enhancing the overall quality of care for mothers, infants, and families,” he said.

He said that the successful application of the Program Optimisation Approach in the EID Point of Care (POC), Optimisation project paved the way for the toolkit’s development.

He said that participating health facilities actively contributed to its creation, fostering a collaborative environment for the improvement of EID services.

“Early outcomes demonstrate positive impacts on programmes indicators, affirming the toolkit’s effectiveness.

“Beyond EID, the lessons and tools presented hold potential for broader applications in elevating the overall quality of healthcare services for mothers, infants, and families,” he said.

He said that the government was commitment to creating a conducive environment for partners and stakeholders to achieve healthcare mandates.

“The toolkit launch, aligned with the national framework, focuses on scaling up plans and monitoring partners to deliver according to agreed norms and deliverables.

“The government’s dedication to an effective monitoring and evaluation system underscores its resolve to tackle identified healthcare challenges,” he said.

Speaking on the national perspective, he outlined plans for broader implementation across states, involving state government representatives and programmes


“The toolkit, intended for widespread adoption, will guide the dissemination and implementation process, ensuring positive outcomes”. He added

He also addressed the current challenges in paediatric HIV coverage in the country, while highlighting ongoing efforts to improve early infant diagnosis and reduce transmission rates.

He said that the national strategy and commitment to addressing specific challenges provided a glimpse into the nation’s proactive approach to improving

healthcare outcomes.

Dr Avese Torbunde, EGPAF’s Country Director, expressed gratitude for the collaboration with various partners and underscored the importance of strategic partnerships in achieving successful results.

“The dissemination meeting focused on scaling up the strategies discussed during the projects, I urging the media, individual partners, and the government to take up the responsibility of ensuring the continued impact and benefits beyond the project’s completion,” she said.

Torbunde acknowledged the support of its sponsors, particularly the US CDC, Johnson & Johnson. 

“While progress has been made in Nigeria towards epidemic control, there is still much work to be done.

“I urged donors to identify the existing gaps, allocate targeted funding for children, adolescents, and pregnant women, and actively engage in supporting Nigeria’s efforts to achieve epidemic control,” she said.

she urged stakeholders to sustain their efforts and collaborate closely to address the challenges in the country’s fight against paediatric HIV.

“The foundation remains committed to its mission, to achieving lasting impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria,” she said.

Dr Garba Danjuma, Director General, Taraba State AIDS Control Agency, (TSACA), explained that the innovative toolkit being launched was to bolster the state’s paediatric HIV response.

Danjuma highlighted the critical support received from EGPAF Project, specifically geared towards improving healthcare workers’ capacity and establishing youth-friendly centres.

“Taraba, with the fourth-highest HIV prevalence in Nigeria, has shown significant improvement over the years. However, the paediatric HIV response demanded specific attention, as data revealed children were left behind in achieving success.

The toolkit aims to address this by stratifying risks, optimizing resources, and ensuring judicious allocation to those in need,” he said.

He said the multifaceted support provided by EGPAF Project, including the provision of test kits, strengthening the community component, and using traditional but effective methods for client linkage.

“The state team, in collaboration with partners, is actively working towards sustaining the response even as external partners exit.

The weekly meetings and collaborative efforts with partners exemplify Taraba State’s commitment to maintaining the positive trajectory of their HIV response,” he added.

“Taraba State aims to further refine its approach to paediatric HIV, ensuring a targeted and efficient response that optimizes resources for the benefit of those most in need.

“The state’s dedication to sustainability showcases a proactive approach, laying the groundwork for continued success in the fight against HIV in Nigeria,” he said.

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