The Katsina State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (KATSACA) has distributed 3,470 HIV Testing Kits and other consumables to 347 health facilities across the 34 councils of the state.
The items distributed include HIV Reactive Testing Kits (RTKs), cotton wool (500gms), hand sanitizer (500mls), methylated spirit (100), registration booklets, monthly summary forms, HIV referral forms, and patient folders.
This is part of the state government’s commitment to fight against HIV/AIDS and to improve the health and well-being of people in the State.
The distribution programme launched at the KATSACA Conference Hall, behind General Hospital, Katsina on Tuesday by the Executive Governor of the State, Dikko Radda, was aimed at bolstering HIV testing capabilities at local Primary Healthcare Centres.
Governor Radda, represented by the State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Bishir Gambo Saulawa, said the primary goals of the program include providing accessible testing for the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) and HIV Testing Services (HTS) in addition to ensuring that individuals who test positive receive timely care.
He noted that the program also seeks to raise awareness within the community on the importance of getting tested for HIV at their nearest health facilities.
“The programme objectives are to increase HIV testing capacity at all Primary Health Centers (PHC) for PMTCT/HTS in the state and ensure timely linkage of all positive people to care as well as create awareness among the general population on the need to go for HIV testing at the nearest health centres across the state,” he stated.
“Our major concern is to ensure that our coverage is total, no single LGA is neglected in terms of checking the status of HIV and AIDS.
“We also have short medium and long-term planning for the health sector. We are more concerned about the short and medium term plan, we have made arrangements for the long-term plan.
“Part of the short and medium-term plan includes ensuring that pilot hospitals are operating optimally functionally in terms of the manpower, infrastructure, and the basic required equipment.
“So, we want before the end of the tenure of this administration, we hope that each and every ward of the state has a functional deliverable service to the people of the State.”
Earlier in his welcome address, KATSACA Executive, Dr. Bala Nuhu Kankia, explained that out of the over 1,700 health facilities in the state, the agency is responsible for covering 347 in terms of logistics for HIV and aids response activities.
He said that based on the recent and last survey conducted on the HIV rate, the HIV prevalence in Katsina State stands at 0.3, and as of 2018 to date, Katsina has more than 30,000 HIV victims.
He announced that out of this figure, the agency identified more than 20,000 people taking medication in various healthcare centers across the state.
“So, after this launch, from tomorrow we are going to round all the 34 LGAs in the state including the 361 wards which are out of stock to distribute the commodities,” he said.
“In the recent and last survey, we conducted on HIV rate. So, based on HIV prevalence in Katsina State we have 0.3%. If you convert this 0.3 prevalence rate in the state, as of 2018 to date, we have more than 30,000 based on the population of Katsina State people living with HIV and AIDS. Out of this figure, we are able to identify more than 20,000 people taking medication in our healthcare centres. The essence of identifying them is to link them to care.
“We are putting heads together with other relevant stakeholders to identify the rest of the more than 10,000 HIV victims population.
In his remarks, the Chairman of People Living with HIV in Katsina State, Comrade Shehu Mohammed, thanked the state government for the gesture, commending the effort KATSACA) to provide his members with nutritional support.
“Our association is always going against those spreading the virus among people in the state and protecting the interest of those affected.
“Before people affected with HIV cannot come to receive medication in fear of discrimination but due to the high level of advocacy and awareness creation, the practice has changed,” he said.