Written by John Minto, Managing Director GEDE Foundation
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS in Nigeria reports into the Presidency and is responsible for the overall coordination of the response to HIV-AIDS. At the most recent meeting of NACA’s Technical Working Group held to discuss the National Guidelines on HIV-AIDS Care and Support, participating agencies (including the Association for Reproductive and Family Health, FHI360, PEPFAR, Society for Family Health, USAID) have nominated GEDE Foundation to chair the newly established Sub-Committee on Mental Health.
The work of the Sub-Committee, which will meet for the first time on December 3 2014, will, in part, focus on assessing ways in which mental health can be integrated into national HIV-AIDS care and support regimes. Gede’s chairing of the Sub-Committee reflects the Foundation’s work in terms of undertaking (with partners) a peer reviewed study into the prevalence and impact of common mental disorders in a sample of people living positively in Federal Capital Territory coupled with a project which will assess ways in which the screening and treatment/referral of depression and substance abuse can be integrated into HIV-AIDS care and support.
Gede’s story started in 2002 when the Foundation became one of the first organizations in Nigeria to open its doors to people living with HIV-AIDS at a time when little service delivery existed across the country. As a pioneer agency, Gede soon became known as an organization willing to address the root causes of HIV-AIDS stigma and to offer clinical services to those who would otherwise ‘go without’ – often in remote locations or through the Foundation’s innovative home care delivery program.