The United Nation International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), on Friday said it was collaborating with the Kaduna State Government to offer treatment to 90 per cent of children living with HIV and AIDS in the state.
The UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS Chief, Dorothy Mbori-Ngacha, who made the disclosure at a news conference in Kaduna, explained that the measure was part of effort to prevent the children from dying of the virus.
Mbori-Ngacha said that the agency was also working with the government in the area of Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT).
She added that the partnership has been scaled up to include treatment of children living with HIV and AIDS.
“We know that adults are receiving treatment, unfortunately, children are lagging far behind.
“Available records indicate that there is a very low coverage of children living with the virus in the state.
“We are going to work with the state to see how we can identify children leaving with the virus and link them to treatment, “she said.
She also raised concern that the adolescent age group of 10 to 19 years was equally compromised as far as HIV response was concerned.
According to her, while other age groups’ mortality rate is decreasing, the rate of death among those aged 10 to 19 is increasing.
“This could be either because they are not placed on treatment on time or they do not stay on treatment because the service centres were not friendly to them.
“So we are working with the state government to prevent new cases in this age group”.
Mbori-Ngacha commended the state government for doing very well in the area of preventing mother to child transmission of the virus.
She said that Kaduna and Cross River have been identified as leading states in fast tracking the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS in the country.
“Kaduna was chosen because of its performance during the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Week when they were able to test over 80, 000 pregnant women, larger than any other state.”
She said that UNICEF would continue to partner with the state government to prevent new infection in children.
Malam Lawal Abubakar, the PMTCT Focal Person in the state, said that a total of 197, 016 adults and children were tested for HIV between January and June this year, out of which 7, 974 tested positive.
He also said that 7, 314 children aged 0 to 14 tested positive in the state since the beginning of prevention of new infection of HIV programmes about 20 years ago.
The official, however, said that only 2, 690 out of the figure were placed on drugs.
Abubakar stressed that the government had placed priority in the prevention of mother to child transmission and early infant diagnosis, to ensure that all new born were tested and linked to treatment. (NAN)