A good job is more than just a paycheck. A good job fosters independence and discipline, and contributes the health of the community…James Douglas, jr.
Let us engage our mind’s eye for a moment.
Imagine a society filled with sick people, imagine a society plagued with deadly communicable diseases such that everyone feels scared to associate with each other freely, or better still imagine a society where there is the hope for the ailing. Unimaginable you may answer, (of course the Ebola scourge can’t be forgotten in a hurry).
So that we do not find ourselves in such unimaginable quagmire, the ECEWS CDC-funded Local Capacity Enhancement (LOCATE) Project which was initiated in Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi States has been accomplishing “a good job” in these states. But you may ask, how good is the job? This feature will comprehensively focus on Enugu State.
Prevention has been proven to be better than cure, so based on this age-long fact, the ECEWS LOCATE project in ENUGU has targeted prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections including HIV through Abstinence & Be faithful, Condom & other prevention and HIV Counselling and Testing Programs.
But does this prevention programs mean that those who by chance have the infection are hopeless? Not at all. In addition to the prevention programs, the State team initially supported 95 health facilities on HIV Prevention, Care and treatment but are currently supporting 53 of such facilities because 42 of such sites were transitioned to the Enugu state government. The team conducts strategic weekly mentoring visits to 4 supported comprehensive facilities to strengthen delivery of quality ART services. These regular visits seek to strengthen the technical capacity of clinicians and other health care workers to support high quality service delivery and client retention on ART, in the supported sites.
Considering the fact that the Laboratory remains the “back bone of quality ART program, ECEWS ensured the functionality of all its Laboratory equipment through planned preventive maintenance and effective sample transport system through a “hub and spoke model” in Enugu.
Undisputedly, blood transfusion remains a major mode of transmission of all kinds of infections including HIV. To limit this possibility ECEWS in collaboration with the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) commenced the hospital linkage program which ensures an unfettered access to free and safe blood for all the ECEWS supported comprehensive care and treatment sites in Enugu. This was made possible through the involvement of key stakeholders culminating in the signing of an MOU between the NBTS and Enugu State Ministry of Health.
The pharmacy logistic unit ensured the clients are placed on the correct medication with the M&E unit showcasing program success through quality data reporting.
OUR FIGURES SPEAK FOR US
|Number of pregnant women with known HIV status (includes women who were tested for HIV and received their results)
|Number of pregnant women who tested positive for HIV
|Number of HIV-positive pregnant women who received antiretroviral to reduce risk of mother -to-child-transmission (MTCT) during pregnancy and delivery.
|Number of infants who had a Virology HIV test within 12 months of birth during the reporting period
|Number of individuals who received testing and counseling (T&C) services for HIV and received their test results
|Number of individuals who received testing and counseling (T&C) services for HIV and tested HIV positive
|Number of adults and children receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) [current]
|Number of adults and children newly enrolled on antiretroviral therapy (ART)
|Number of VCs and active beneficiaries served||3210|
|Number of HIV-positive patients who were screened for TB in HIV care or treatment setting||13083|
|Number of clients newly enrolled in care and received IPT||188|
|Number of PLHIV provided IPT in the reporting period||1530|
|Number of key population reached with HIV preventive intervention||2580|
|TRAININGS||# of TRAINEES|
|DHIS2/DATIM MER Training||27|
|HIV Program MER Reporting||25|
Earlier, we mentioned that 42 sites were transitioned to the Enugu State government and it is only curious to find out why that happened. Enugu State Program Manager, Dr Onyekachi, breaks the ice on this issue during a phone interview with him. He expatiates on the meaning and reasons for the transitioning.
“To achieve national epidemic control of HIV using the 90-90-90 approach, where in 90% of the target population are tested for HIV, 90% of positives receive drugs and 90% of those receiving drugs have sustained viral suppression, CDC in line with American Government policy categorized states into priority and maintenance states. With this categorization, Enugu state fell among maintenance States. There were some facilities that could not generate as much as 5 positives in a year. Those sites were transitioned to the states. As a result, 42 Primary Health Centers were transitioned to the State. We are currently working with the remaining 53 facilities to provide HCT services and those found positive are referred accordingly. For the transitioned sites, we cannot provide HCT services but we may provide oversight functions for government on how to address any challenge that may arise from the sites.”
ECEWS as an organization believes so much in partnership because it yields excellent results, hence our story would not be complete without our partners speaking. We have had series of relationships with both local and international partners. We will be speaking with JHPIEGO and CLAP. JHPIEGO is an affiliate of John Hopkins University, USA.
Dr Oluwatobi Adebayo, the JHPIEGO PMTCT advisor on the LOCATE Project speaks on the JHPIEGO/ECEWS partnership;
“Our area of partnership is on PMTCT and JHPIEGO’s mandate on this project is primarily to provide technical leadership on PMTCT as well as provide technical support for other LOCATE team members in other units to assure that quality comprehensive HIV care and treatment services are provided in the State.”
When further asked of the achievements this beautiful partnership has yielded, he did not hesitate to answer thus;
“When we came on board, things were in disarray so we brought in service integration. Before now, women who were HIV positive and pregnant had to come to the health care facility at least twice every month to access HIV care & Treatment then they had to come on a separate appointment day to access antenatal services, so we integrated PMTCT services into the existing Maternal Newborn and Child Health Service.
When it comes to Health Information Management System, we met a disorganized system, using multiple register to document similar indicators, we came in with harmonization of tools, we harmonized the existing multiple tools into the NHIMS register. This is cost effective, innovative and ensures the quality of our data that we are getting from the facility.
JHPIEGO also facilitated the formation of the abstract development committee, which looks into building the capacity of staff to make them proficient at writing abstract and conducting research. For now, we have about 2 abstracts that JHPIEGO has written on this project and we have also written at least one success story for the project.”
We have also partnered with Community Life Advancement Project (CLAP), a Community Based Organization. We had an interview with its representative, Vivian and she has this to say about the partnership;
“The partnership has been a good one and we communicate very well with the funder ECEWS in their states & HQ and the mentorship from the specialists in the state team has also been a good one. They are not there to find fault rather they are there to mentor and support the programme.”
She speaks further on the nature of the partnership;
“CLAP signed an MOU with ECEWS to provide care and support services to HIV patients and affected and vulnerable children and their household and also to carry out gender norm activities in the communities while ECEWS supports the programme with cushioning, mentorship and funds.”
The partnership has not been without achievements, she outlines the achievements thus;
“All the targets given us has been reached, infected and directly affected children have been enrolled and served properly
On Household Economic Strengthening, CLAP has been able to establish an association where some of these caregivers and vulnerable children are part of and they have been able to get new ones to carry out some activity in their household.
Through this project, community members were able to revamp a moribund cassava processing site and made sure it is functioning. CLAP has helped them to write to philanthropists and communities to be able to provide water for their garri processing site.
Most women have been encouraged on the importance of ANC and they have been going for that, Female Sex Workers and Uniform Service Persons were reached with prevention interventions.”
You may wonder what ECEWS’ reputation in their host State is. Well, our host speaks favourably of us.
Speaking with the Executive Secretary, Enugu State Agency on the Control of Aids (ENSACA), Mrs Obioma Ugwu on their relationship with and impression of ECEWS, as well as the impact that LOCATE project has had in Enugu State She explains;
“ECEWS has worked very well and has had tremendous and successful impact in the state. ECEWS works in Enugu West senatorial zone covering all the facilities there both comprehensive sites and PHCs. ENSACA has a very cordial relationship with ECEWS. They have trained some of ENSCA’s staff. We go with them to visit facilities, they attend our meetings and we attend their meetings. If I am to score them, I will give them above 90%.”
For a certainty, ECEWS has contributed immensely to the health of Enugu State.