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Changing the Landscape: My thoughts on the Rapid PMTCT Scale Up

Sawn

Greetings from the ‘madhouse’. I won’t tell you where this madhouse is situated. I can describe what goes on in there however. It is a place where dreams and visions are conceptualized, analyzed, re-analyzed and re-conceptualized. Thereafter these ideas and dreams become mandates, objectives, and hard-set goals with screaming timelines. It is a place where humanitarian efforts to improve lives and save babies are executed in emergency mode.

The ‘madhouse’ core team sits round the table in the situation room, much like a scene in the action thriller series ‘24’ where the president and his advisors strategize on the best way to deliver on deliverables. The roundtable decides intelligence must be gathered. Assessors are enlisted like soldiers for an army. They go out to gather intelligence. Hard core data dug up from the rugged trenches of the primary healthcare delivery landscape. They scan and scope every nook and cranny of 8 states, guided by Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS) devices, facility lists and eager, semi-motivated Local Government Area (LGA) tour guides. The vehicles maneuver through nightmarish terrain. Daily reports are generated and transmitted to the ‘situation room’ where data is analyzed and plans are hatched. (more…)

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

edward

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…

uche

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

imprved

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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