Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

From TCNEWS

Grant Cycle 7 (GC7) Abia State Programme Officer, Mr. Whyte Ikocha has tasked mentor mothers to be responsive and ensure that all the pregnant women in all the nooks and crannies of the state are tested to ascertain their HIV status.

Ikocha gave the task in Umuahia, during the orientation course for the 27 successful NEPWHAN mentor mothers, which saw the National Officer (Financial Secretary) of Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) Mr. Joseph Anosike; Dr. Mrs Divine Ezeagwula, a paediatric TB/Abia State focal person representing Tuberculosis (TB) Programme Manager, Dr. Ahamefula Obiora; Mrs Munachim Agumba, representative of the Director General of SACA; and Ivonne Ijeoma, representing Dr. Mantu Samuel, the Program Manager, State AIDS & STI Control Programme, SASCP and the Abia State Coordinator of Association of Women Living With HIV/AIDS In Nigeria, ASWHAN, Mrs Phina Ogbuagu in attendance.Recall that the Federal Government recently inaugurated Global Fund Grant Cycle-7 on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Resilient and Sustainable System for 2024-2026 implementation periods.

Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Federal Ministry of Health, had during the inauguration said that the programme was beneficial to the good people of Nigeria.

According to the minister the occasion of another grant implementation cycle was apt as it marked an important period in the efforts of the Federal Government in the fight against the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Addressing the participants, Mr. Whyte Ikocha encouraged them to perform creditably well to cause a scale up of the number of mentor mothers for the state.

Pix: L-R : Mr. Whyte Ikocha and Mrs Phina Ogbuagu, during the orientation course for Mentor mothers in Abia State.

“NEPWHAN has the mandate to engage mentor mothers across states in Nigeria and Abia happened to have 27 slots of mentor mothers. About 100 women applied for mentor mothers in different capacities but finally 27 of them were selected based on their performance, having passed through rigorous interviews. After the orientation course, they will be posted to their various local government areas in the state”, Ikocha told this correspondent.

He had earlier also reminded the mentor mothers that they were to work in collaboration with the TB Network and also closely work with the traditional birth attendants in the various communities to source for pregnant women, test them, get those that are HIV positive, link same to the designated facilities, to ensure that in the year 2030, “there will be no more HIV infection in Nigeria”.

Speaking respectively also, the Financial Secretary of NEPWHAN Mr. Joseph Anosike and Abia State Coordinator, Mr. Ozeh Michael, described the project as a serious business that required positive results, hence the need to get visible reports that are trackable by NEPWHAN, other collaborating bodies and the government.

“This is not business as usual, do not abuse or misuse the opportunity given to you, do not bring NEPWHAN down. NEPWHAN will become an implementing partner in Nigeria, if the project succeed”, Anosike tasked the mentor mothers.

In their respective speeches also, Dr. Mrs Divine Ezeagwula, a paediatric TB/Abia State focal person representing Tuberculosis (TB) Programme Manager, Dr. Ahamefula Obiora; representative of the Director General of SACA; and Ivonne Ijeoma, representing Dr. Mantu Samuel, the Program Manager, State AIDS & STI Control Programme, SASCP, encouraged the mentor mothers to switch on their surveillance cameras, detect a case, refer the patient to the closest facility and follow same up until she gives birth, reminding them that their target was to ensure that the baby be born without HIV.

They encouraged them to always make themselves available for identification and ensure that any information given to them by the HIV positive patient remained in confidence and also go against discrimination and stigmatization and above all ensure that the patient takes her drugs and the baby tested on time, as the essence of engaging them was to educate women at the grassroots on the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

By NWAMARA

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