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March 3, 2024

AIDS: Organisation reiterates commitment to a HIV free Nigeria

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By Ikenna Osuoha

Mr Batholomew Ochonye, Country Director, Heartland Alliance International (HAI) says the organisation is committed to ensuring a HIV free Nigeria.

Ochonye told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that efforts were on to  ensure that all Nigerians lived their lives to full potentials.

He said that this was achievable through provision of access to adequate healthcare.

“Heartland Alliance is also committed to a future where all Nigerians will live life to the fullest, have affordable healthcare as well as social and economic justice using human rights based approaches.

“We have provided mental health and psychological support as well as increased access to highly active anti retroviral treatment for the key populations living with HIV in Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Lagos,” Ochonye said.

The country director explained that the group had also increased access to sexual and reproductive health services in all the LGAs in Benue and 10 local governments areas in Lagos.

Ochonye said the target included females of reproductive age who used drugs, as well as sex workers.

According to him, HAI had supported children of key populations who were living with HIV to access pediatrics anti retroviral as well as managing other childhood illnesses.

“Other interventions include diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, screening and referral for viral hepatitis and cervical cancer as well as other related services.

“We currently implement and scale up tuberculosis prevention and treatment program at the community level to ensure proper management of TB/HIV co-infection,” Ochonye said.

He expressed readiness of the alliance to galvanise Nigeria’s healthcare system while commending the Federal Government for its support.

“As a gender responsive program, our interventions are tailored to the challenges expressed by individuals and groups as well as communities,” Ochonye said.

He reaffirmed the determination of the organisation in investing in building community capacity to be resilient in fighting injustice and inhuman treatment against vulnerable and most marginalised persons.

“We have engaged with relevant government agencies to influence policies that seek to increase access to life-saving commodities and products from health to social and economic development.

“We work with victims of trafficking in North East Nigeria and beyond as we have supported the reunification of families with loved ones trafficked outside Nigeria,” Ochonye added.  (NAN)

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