Care and Treatment for Sustained Support : Our Impact

{Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH}Binta Ejo addresses USAID General Counsel Craig Wolf during a visit in October 2019. “I want to thank the American people who, through USAID, saved me and my girls with the continuum of HIV services at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital. We are grateful.”Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH

Binta Ejo was diagnosed with HIV in 2006. As a young, single woman, she struggled to cope with her diagnosis but listened when her sister encouraged her to seek treatment. Today, she is the proud mother to three-year-old twin girls, born HIV-free, and works as an HIV case manager at the same hospital that helped her live positively with HIV. This transformation took place after she joined a support group meeting at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH) in Sokoto, Northwest Nigeria. Binta’s support group became a source of strength.

{Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH}Abdulkadir Kayode is an active member and leader in his adolescents-only support group.Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH

Five years ago, 17-year-old Abdulkadir Kayode was diagnosed with HIV and too ill to attend school. He had lost his parents to HIV-related illnesses and was shunned by his classmates and neighbors for his condition. Today, Abdulkadir has achieved viral suppression, is attending school every day, and dreams of becoming a soccer player and successful businessman.

Adolescents and a few MSH staff pose for the camera after the Adolescent and Young People Program and Symposium held in Abuja, Nigeria. Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH

In commemoration of World Aids Day 2019, MSH, through the USAID Care and Treatment for Sustained Support (CaTSS) Project, joined in a week of activities hosted by Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the Federal Ministry of Health. In collaboration with the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the government launched the “Undetectable equals Untransmittable” (U=U) campaign on November 25—a strategic campaign to help achieve zero new infections and reduce stigma for Nigerians living with HIV.

Omena Eghaghara, Supply Chain Management Specialist for the CaTSS project, visits with Mayowa. Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH

By Omena Mimi EghagharaOmena Mimi Eghaghara is a Supply Chain Management Specialist for the USAID Care and Treatment for Sustained Support (CaTSS) Project, based in Kwara State, Nigeria. One September day in 2018, while providing supportive supervision to one of the CaTSS-supported facilities in Kwara state, I made the first of many calls to Mayowa, a 21-year-old medical student living with HIV. Mayowa was exhausted and losing hope.

 {Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH}MSH staff member, Christopher Ogar, verifies information from a HIV testing services register with facility staff at General Hospital Suleija in Niger state, Nigeria.Photo credit: Aor Ikyaabo/MSH

In Nigeria, home to the world’s second-largest HIV epidemic, successfully linking every person who tests positive for HIV to accessible and culturally appropriate care and support services is a big challenge.Gender and sociocultural norms can create barriers to linkage, particularly in northern states of Nigeria such as Kebbi, where some women need permission from their husbands to start treatment.

Story and photos by Aor IkyaaboMary John is a 47-year-old mother of two and a hair stylist by profession. She is also one of Nigeria’s mentor mothers — women who provide counseling and essential health education to other HIV-positive mothers in their communities. As a peer and mentor, she teaches these women about how they can prevent their babies from contracting HIV and keep themselves and their families healthy.Mary had been living with the virus for several years before she tested positive.

 {Photo credit: Mary Dauda/MSH}After nearly losing her business, Adekeye Dorcas now mentors HIV positive pregnant mothers in her community and trains apprentices in the art of nylon production.Photo credit: Mary Dauda/MSH

A trader skilled in the art of nylon production, Adekeye Dorcas once generated enough income to provide for her family. During a routine visit to the health center in Kwara state, she tested positive for HIV and was immediately offered counseling services and antiretroviral therapy (ART). The growing demands on her time to travel on open clinic days for ART and the cost of transportation began to threaten her family’s financial stability. She knew that adherence to her treatment was key to allowing her to live positively and ensuring that her husband remained HIV negative.

All children and adolescents should have the opportunity to meet their full potential of physical, mental, and social well-being. The CaTSS OVC Direct Service Support program worked with community leaders and caregivers to re-enroll children in school who had been orphaned or affected by HIV and AIDS.

 {Photo courtesy of Sherri Haas}MSH staff at the Global Digital Health Forum 2017.Photo courtesy of Sherri Haas

Management Sciences for Health’s work across the digital health spectrum was shared at the Global Digital Health Forum 2017 (GDHF 2017) in Washington, D.C. December 4-6, 2017. The GDHF is the premier global conference on the use of digital technology for health in low- and middle-income countries. MSH is an Advisory Board Member of the Global Digital Health Network and contributed substantially to development of the conference. The theme this year was The Evolving Digital Health Landscape: Progress, Achievements, and Remaining Frontier.

SOWCHAN state representatives with CaTSS Deputy Project Director Dr. Ndulue Nwokedi (left), Acting Nigeria Country Representative Olumide Elegbe (center), and CaTSS Project Director Dr. Med Makumbi (right) at the MSH office in Ahuja.

To commemorate 2017 World AIDS Day in Nigeria, MSH supported an advocacy march by the Society for Women and Children Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (SOWCHAN) on December 1st. SOWCHAN members walked to the Nigeria National Assembly to create awareness about the challenges women and children living with HIV/AIDS face across the country.

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