From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Network of people Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWAN) has trained 30 advocacy groups and organisations in Nasarawa State for the implementation of the Federal Government and Global Fund Multi Billion Naira Resilience and Sustainable Systems for Health Grant Programme in the state.
Speaking in an interview after a three-day training in Lafia, Programme Manager NEPWAN, Mr Ismaeel Danise said the programme was focused on improving the standard of health care facilities in rural communities due to impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on the sector.
Danise stated that the state was implementing the AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria component of the project in five local government areas of Keffi, Karu, Akwanga, Lafia and Doma.
“Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA received over 103.8 billion Naira Grant from Global Fund for continuous implementation of the Resilient and Sustainable Systems for Health Programme in 18 states including Nasarawa following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As part of efforts to ensure effective implementation of the programme in Nasarawa State, leaders of Community Based Organisations, religious bodies, National Orientation Agency, the Police, as well as the media converged on Lafia the state capital for a 3-day training on how to step up advocacy aimed at identifying and strengthening the health sector for optimal service delivery,” he said.
Also speaking, Lead Facilitator at the training, Dr Ruth Bello, who is also the Executive Director, Nasarawa State Agency for the Control of AIDS, pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic had weakened the health sector, hence the need for persistent robust engagements and commitments towards strengthening the system, given its importance to humanity.
On his part, Coordinator, NEPWAN in Nigeria, Mr Philip Lokoko noted that the programme had given hope to people affected by HIV and AIDS in the state, who were not given adequate attention during the peak of the COVID-19 scourge.
Some participants, who spoke with The Voice, including; the state Secretary General, Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Imam Muhammad Ali and the state Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Sunday Emmah both said that the programme had given them a new approach to advocate for better health care services, especially at the grassroots.
The Voice reports that the training featured questions and answer sessions, discussions, practical demonstrations and inauguration of a five-man health advocacy team to coordinate activities of the community based organisations to ensure successful implementation of the project.