By Victoria Ojeme
ABUJA—As part of measures to reduce the HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis prevalence rate in Nigeria, the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, yesterday, launched a five-year strengthening integrated delivery of HIV/AIDS services project with an estimated budget of $224,000,000.
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCulley, made this known in Abuja, explaining that the project was funded by USAID to reduce the HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis burden through the provision of strengthened and integrated high quality, comprehensive services that are sustainable in the long-term.
He said: “This project is building on the achievements of predecessor Global HIV/AIDS Initiative Nigeria, GHAIN, project to increase access and coverage of high-quality, comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment and improve efficiencies in service delivery between 2004 and 2010.”
In her remarks, USAID Country Director, Dana Mansuri, said GHAIN provided training for health workers, refurbished facilities, and improved laboratory and pharmacy services, supply chain management, data collection and reporting.
Mansuri added that the project also increased HIV testing and counselling services while referral systems were improved.
She said: “HIV services were integrated into Tuberculosis and Reproductive Health treatments nationwide. By 2011, USAID provided assistance to over 160,000 HIV positive persons in 124 sites.”
Mansuri added that the Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services project also created improved quality and integration of HIV/AIDS services, and upgraded the capacity of Nigerian institutions to provide these services.
She said over the five-year period (2011 – 2015), the project will assist the government of Nigeria to reach the following key beneficiaries: 252,000 men, women and children to receive anti-retroviral therapy; 1.7 million preg-nant women to receive counseling and testing for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the HIV virus, while 41,220 pregnant women will complete anti-retroviral treatment.