BY FRANCIS EZEDIUNO
Human Immunodeficiency Virus disease commonly called HIV, Hepatitis B and C are three of the killer diseases that are presently ravaging most countries in the developed world and Nigeria is not an exception when it comes to the frightening statistics of Nigerians battling these ailments.
For these reasons, the Nigerian AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey also known as NAIIS, an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) will be conducting a survey for 3,000 Osun residents in 102 selected communities in the 30 local governments in the State.
The NAIIS is a survey about HIV and an indicator to measure the burden of HIV in Nigeria and is funded by the Presidential Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).
This type of survey is different in that the results of the test involved would be disclosed personally to the persons involved almost instantly as the survey will be in the form of blood tests in the comfort of their homes.
Where necessary, survey participants will be referred to a nearby health facility of their choice where treatment and counseling will commence.
This is a wakeup call to the state government, State Ministry of Health and Osun State Agency for the Control of AIDS (O-SACA) and the good people of Osun to rise to the occasion and co-operate with the enumerators as they go round their localities.
It seems the benefits of the survey are numerous and they include the followings: Help us to know how many people in Nigeria have HIV and viral hepatitis and need health services; provide participants the opportunity to get free HIV testing and counseling in the privacy of their own homes; improve the success of HIV treatment and other services; and move Nigeria towards an HIV free generation.
Dr. Bunmi Ayinde, the NAIIS Zonal Mobiliser stated that participation in the programme is voluntary and confidential as earlier stated and the identity of the participants will be confidential.
It is hoped that with the result of the survey, Nigeria will be able to tabulate and access the segment of its population zone by zone, state by state and local government by local government that have HIV, Hepatitis B and C, how to go about managing them.
The NAIIS survey is all about going from house to house, door to door in each community to ask questions about the Nigerian AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey.
Questions will be asked about HIV, Hepatitis B and C and people’s blood samples will be taken to conduct HIV, Hepatitis B and C tests for them in the comfort of their homes and in their different households.
The tests will be done free. It will be voluntary and it is going to be a confidential process. Teams that will conduct the survey are already in the state but there is need to create awareness so that communities will know that the federal governments, National AIDS Control Agency (NACA) are the ones who planned this programme for Nigeria.
The survey is also funded by AFENET and Global Fund in league with other implementing partners.
Another aim of the survey is to ensure that people know their HIV, Hepatitis B and C status. Those who are positive will be referred to hospital where they will receive treatments while those who test negative will have the opportunity to be counseled for free on how to prevent contracting these diseases.
The survey will be another opportunity for people to know their status generally and also to ensure that HIV in Osun State and Nigeria as a whole is reduced to the barest minimum.
The community will gain from the free tests, free referral and transportation for HIV positive individuals. Not all households will be visited during the survey but only selected ones by the National Population Commission (NPC) will be used as the sample population and visited.
The households visited will represent their communities and it is their health status that will be used to get the health status of the community and in the future. It is the survey that the government will use in planning its health programmes.
This survey is presently ongoing across six states across the federation. One state per geographical zone.