POWERED BY FHI 360

Doing the unprecedented – a personal perspective of the march towards eMTCT

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When you read global documents that categorize countries and the PMTCT effort – you will typically find ‘Naija’ in the minority non-performing states. When you attend international meetings, the country is usually described as contributing a lion share to global PMTCT gap. These coupled with the knowledge that we can do more than we were doing can unsettle a stakeholder. When the USAID funded Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project then got off the blocks to massively scale-up PMTCT services and push towards eMTCT in 8 of the 12 + 1 states accounting for 70% of the national MTCT burden, it was more than a welcome ‘challenge’. The phrase we used then was – “these are interesting times!” The excitement was palpable.

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Towards the elimination of MTCT: Tiny drops of water make an ocean…

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At the start of the rapid PMTCT activations, considering the goals we had before us, you may have thought or said we were too ambitious or even unrealistic – we all did! But guess what? Many months later, pregnant women and their infants in need of HIV services have been reached through these efforts.

It all started out as ‘madness’ as we all often called it – more than 3000 new sites to be activated in 6 months was the plan… no piece of cake! Who could have ever thought it possible? The planning, strategizing, disagreements, coordination, sleepless nights and all… yes! All of this was made possible through the unrelenting, committed and dogged efforts of the teams at both State and Country office.
What’s most important? These new sites have all contributed in some way (no matter how little) to bringing PMTCT services closer to households and communities, to reaching the unreached HIV infected mothers and their infants and very importantly to building the capacity of different cadres of Nigerian healthcare workers on PMTCT service provision.
At the end of these 6 months, (October 2013 – March 2014) what have we achieved as of April 2014

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Improved Pharmaceutical Services in Primary Health Care, Lagos State

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Primary health care is geared towards preventing, promoting and providing quality health services to individuals and families at the community level. The health sector reform and the revitalization of the Primary Health Care Board [PHCB] by the Lagos State government led to the establishment of the Directorate of Pharmaceutical services, which is pivotal to ensuring improved health care through more efficient provision of pharmaceutical care in primary health care facilities [PHCs].

The USAID funded SIDHAS project through its consortium partner, Howard University, Pharmacy and continuing Education [HU PACE] has been supporting the PHCB in ten SIDHAS supported local government areas in Lagos state. This is to ensure adherence to standard pharmacy best practices and provision of quality pharmaceutical care in the facilities. By training and providing ongoing technical assistance to LGA Pharmacists engaged and deployed by the board to oversee pharmacy services in these LGAs, HU PACE has immensely supported the board through the LGA pharmacists to ensure quality onsite capacity building, monitoring and supervision of facility pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, pharmacy assistants and volunteers.

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A Reason to Smile again – Diana’s Story

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Ms. Diana, (real name concealed to protect identity of client) a young woman and trader hails from a rural community in Yenagoa local government area of Bayelsa State. Her family has been devastated since the loss of her husband to AIDS. Diana and her two year old son are also HIV positive. After her husband’s death, she was left with no hope of survival; but that was before she met the USAID funded SIDHAS project team who were on one of their targeted service activation visit to one of the facilities in her community. This encounter was to mark a turning point in her life.

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