HIV/AIDS: Society Laments Over Slow Pace of Viral Suppression
The first Co-Chairman of Coalition of Civil Society Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CCSNHAN), Mr Ikenna Nwakamma on Friday said the rate of viral suppression among people living with HIV is slow, and urged people with the condition to adhere to their medication.
Nwakamma told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the call became necessary because many people living with the virus patronise faith-based organisations for treatment.
He explained that religious organisations had continued to compromise the curative intervention of
government and agencies because people living with the virus abandon their medications and wait for miracle healing.
He lamented that “we can’t accept a situation in which government and donors spend huge amount of money to keep people alive while some faith-based organisations ask such people to believe in prayer healing alone.
“While undergoing such faith-based healing process, many of them abandon their medical treatment and at that point, viral suppression becomes slow.”
The society co-chairman warned people on HIV medication never to stop taking their drugs even when undergoing prayer healing, emphasising that “there is no cure for the condition yet, and that is why people with the virus develop complications when they abandon their drugs, believing that they have been healed.”
He said that when such people come down with complications, government and donors would have to
spend more money in managing the consequential crisis.
NAN reports that UNAIDS has 90:90:90 target for vision 2020, which stipulates 90 per cent HIV awareness,
90 per cent treatment and 90 per cent viral suppression. (NAN)
Bauchi State Detects 7,806 Cases of Tuberculosis
Bauchi State recorded 7,806 cases of tuberculosis in 2022, Dr Sani Mohammad, Executive Secretary, Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria said on Monday in Bauchi.
He made the declaration at a news conference to mark the 2023 World Tuberculosis Day.
Mohammed represented the Commissioner for Health, Dr Sabiu Gwalabe, at the news conference.
He said the figure was an increase of 2,154 over the 5,652 recorded in 2021.
The WHO set aside March 24 to mark the World Tuberculosis Day annually to raise awareness about tuberculosis and efforts to end the pandemic.
He said also that the 2022 figure, representing about 53 per cent increase of the 2021 level was the highest recorded so far in the state.
“Out of the 5,518 new cases that were placed on treatment in 2022, about 5,192; that is 94 per cent were successfully treated at the end of the year.
“Bauchi State currently has 794 free tuberculosis treatment centres, 127 diagnostic centres and 15 GeneXperts,’’ he said.
Mohammed said the state government, in collaboration with implementing partners such as Breakthrough Action-Nigeria, was conducting active case findings across Bauchi State.
He said that the 2023 World Tuberculosis Day would be celebrated with series of phone-in television and radio programmes to increase awareness.
Nutritional support for some patients and combined free testing and treatment for tuberculosis, COVID-19, HIV, Hepatitis and Malaria, would also be provided, he added.
In his remarks, Dr Yakubu Abdullahi, Director, Tuberculosis Control Programme in Bauchi State, said the agency would train paediatric doctors from secondary and tertiary institutions on case detection among children.
He said that there was collaboration also between the agency and nutritional clinics in the state to detect tuberculosis in children.
“Diagnosing tuberculosis in children is a challenge, but we have decided to use their stools as samples,’’ Abdullahi said. (NAN)
EU Allocates N75m to Prevent Diphtheria Spread in Nigeria
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
In order to help Nigeria to prevent the spread of diphtheria cases which started at the beginning of 2023, the European Union, EU, has released €150,000 (N75 million) in humanitarian funds.
The money has been released to assist the most affected communities in the states of Kano, Katsina, Lagos, and Osun.
A statement issued by the EU and made available to journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said the EU funding would enable the Nigerian Red Cross to provide emergency assistance to reduce the impact of diphtheria on affected and at-risk communities through risk communication, outbreak control activities, surveillance, patient referral and hygiene promotion, and early case detection in affected areas.
“Humanitarian assistance will, directly and indirectly, target around 1,585,080 people, with a particular focus on vulnerable people at risk of diphtheria, those living in sheltered communities or hard-to-reach locations.
“This funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
“On 20 January 2023, the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) officially declared an outbreak of diphtheria in Kano and Lagos states after several suspected cases appeared a month earlier. The disease then spread rapidly to other states. From 136 cases in the first week of 2023, the country now records a total of 733 suspected cases and deplores 89 fatalities.
“The outbreak is described as one of the most serious occurrences in Nigeria in recent years. Children aged between 5 and 18 years are the most vulnerable group.
“Diphtheria is a highly contagious bacterial infection transmitted between humans. It causes an infection of the upper respiratory tract, which can lead to breathing difficulties and suffocation. Those most at risk are children and people who have not been fully vaccinated against the disease,” the statement read.
Tuberculosis: Africa Achieves 26% Death Reduction, WHO Says
By Laide Akinboade, Abuja
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the African continent was progressing in its efforts to mitigate Tuberculosis related deaths, as it has achieved a 26 per cent success rate so far.
WHO’s Africa Regional Director Matshdiso Moeti, made this known on Friday, in a statement released to mark the 2023 world Tuberculosis day.
“The region is now on the threshold of reaching 35 percent TB death reduction,” she said, adding that the 26 percent reduction recorded was achieved between 2015 and 2021.
However, Matshdiso said seven countries— Eswatini, Kenya, Mozambique, South Soudan, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia have achieved a 35 per cent reduction level in TB death since 2015.
Furthermore, Matshdiso decried the challenges in TB prevention and control experienced in the region.
“First, there is a delay in diagnosis and testing. There is still a notable gap between the estimated number of new infections and case notifications of TB – 40 per cent of people living with TB did not know of their diagnosis or it was not reported in 2021.
“One million people are living with TB in the region and have not been detected.
“Second, the link between TB and HIV. Approximately 20 per cent of people newly diagnosed with TB are also living with HIV infection.
“Third, the multi-drug resistant TB. In the African region, only 26 per cent of all people living with multi-drug resistance are receiving the appropriate treatment,” she said.
Albeit, Matshdiso expressed delight that member states are increasing the uptake of new tools and guidance recommended by WHO, resulting in early access to TB prevention and care and better outcomes.
She further noted that in the African Region, the use of rapid diagnostic testing has increased from 34 per cent in 2020 to 43 per cent in 2021, which will improve countries’ ability to detect and diagnose new cases of the disease.
“It is particularly important to find and diagnose cases of TB so that the patients can be treated, and their contacts offered preventive medication. Nigeria is an example of a country that managed to significantly increase national TB case finding by 50 per cent in 2021 using innovative approaches such as the expansion of the daily observed treatment protocols, use of digital technologies, Community Active Case Finding, and enlisting Public Private Mix initiatives.”
She said that TB required concerted action by all sectors: from communities and businesses to governments, civil society, and others.
“We must work together to develop innovative approaches to reach vulnerable populations and ensure that they have access to quality TB care and management,” said Matshdiso.
She further disclosed that the second UN High-level Meeting on TB in September 2023 will provide a rare opportunity to give global visibility to the disease and mobilize high-level political commitment to end TB.
DAILY ASSET reports that World TB Day is commemorated yearly on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of this preventable disease and call for accelerated action to end it.
This year’s theme is “Yes, we can end TB,” highlighting the need to ensure equitable access to prevention and care, in line with the drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals
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