APIN, a sub-recipient to National Agency for the Control AIDS (NACA) under the consolidated Global Fund Round 9 (GFR9) grant, conducted a 5-day training for 50 PHC HCWs on PMTCT using the National (IMAI/IMPAC) PMTCT training curriculum, from 26th – 30th of March, 2012.
In the crises-stricken Northern Nigeria, the need to establish a reservoir of healthcare workers (HCWs) with the competence to intervene in the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the region cannot be overemphasized. The fact that crises-laden societies fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS and other vices is well documented. With the Borno State HIV prevalence at 5% and the state bordering 3 countries, there is need to scale up HIV services including PMTCT.
A total of 50 HCWs (Male: 19, Female: 31) pooled from 25 PHCs in 5 LGAs of the state were trained by APIN. A total of 7 expert patients – EPTs (trained PLHIVs) were also involved in the skilled stations alongside PMTCT/ART facilitators from UMTH, NASCP and APIN Program Offices. A total of 7 EPTs and 4 facilitators came to Maiduguri for the purpose of the training.
Organizing the training was challenging as soldiers had to commute facilitators from the airport on arrival to the hotels as a curfew had been declared in the state. This was in the midst of gun shots and several bomb blasts. A planned site visit to PHC Yelwa had to be cancelled.
Prior to the training, the PHC workers had very sparse knowledge of PMTCT. This training equipped them with skills to mitigate the HIV/AIDS burden through PMTCT. ARV drugs have arrived at the PHCs and services commenced in May. Indeed, a new chapter has been opened for Borno State in the midst of the crises.