The United States Government has thrown its weight behind the take-off of a national HIV Clinical Mentors Program in Nigeria.
The U.S Embassy made the disclosure on Friday in a statement in which it stated that the first cohort of 19 HIV Clinical Mentors supported by the United States Government through the Federal Ministry of Health, National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCP) have completed their induction training in Abuja on Saturday, October 23.
The HIV Clinical Mentors Program (CMP) is aimed at building the clinical and programmatic capacity of healthcare workers to provide sustainable and high-quality HIV services for the achievement of the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets for epidemic control in Nigeria
According to the embassy, the clinical mentors are now equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge as they deploy to their various states.
The CMP, which was piloted in Rivers State in 2019, is designed to increase the Federal Government ownership of the HIV program with a team of highly experienced mentors engaging with NASCP to domesticate key HIV guidelines and innovations at the facility level.
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“This not only ensures Nigeria will maintain quality implementation of HIV/AIDS programs, but also supports efforts to ensure the sustainability of the HIV/AIDS response in the country. The CMP will provide opportunity for continuous support to health care workers through the telementoring, using Project ECHO video conferencing platform, and on-site mentoring, enabling implementation of national HIV guidelines with fidelity,” the statement noted.
Mary Adetinuke Boyd, CDC Country Director, in her remarks stated; “the CMP underscores the importance of United States’ support to the Government of Nigeria to reach HIV epidemic control and highlighted how U.S. government investment is helping to build healthcare worker capacity to sustainably respond to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, COVID-19 and to augment public health response to a variety of health threats.
“The program will promote practical learning during implementation of quality HIV implementation on site, leading to enhanced workforce and ensure maximum impact of the HIV program.”
The embassy affirmed that the CMP is being jointly implemented by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) with Nigeria’s Ministry of Health through the National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCP). It said plans are underway for 18 states and the FCT to recruit and train state-level mentors for an enhanced and seamless HIV service delivery.