By Victor Osae IHIDERO, Kaduna
As part of UNICEF’s commitment to maintaining a healthy society, the officer in-charge of UNICEF Field Office, Kaduna, Dr Idris Baba on Tuesday said the organisation has scaled up support to tackle high HIV prevalence among adolescents in seven local government areas of Kaduna State.
Baba, who made the disclosure in Zaria at a forum with media executives in the state, said that “HIV among adolescents remain a big concern. The seven beneficiary LGAs have high prevalence of HIV among adolescents in the state. They include Jema’a, Jaba, Chicken, Igabi, Lere, Kagarko and Birnin Gwari”
According to him, only seven per cent of the adolescents surveyed at the beginning of the intervention programme in March had tested and received their HIV result.
He explained that the support being offered by UNICEF was on HIV prevention, treatment and care in the seven local areas.
The official disclosed that UNICEF had budgeted about N200 million to run the Adolescent and Young Persons (AYP) programme in Chikun, Igabi, Lere, Kagarko, Birnin Gwari, Jaba and Jema’a local government areas.
He 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 remain high.
The official stressed that the main objective was to raise 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.
He said that the programme was also aimed at raising the use of anti retro viral therapy from one to 21 per cent among HIV positive persons and increase the number of schools providing Family Life Health Education from the present 25 per cent to 45 per cent.
Baba noted that UNICEF had trained no fewer than 1, 300 persons to facilitate the success of the programme in all the local government areas.
According to him, 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.