At the Global Fund HIV grant close out/dissemination meeting held by the Society for Family Health, the Program Manager of the Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA) Dr. Kayode Ogunkunle who was the special guest of honour at the event delivered a key note address.
Dr. Ogunkunle in his speech noted that “AIDS is one of those problems that are beyond the capacity of any one community, or any state to solve on its own, or even any one nation alone”. He said that to win the war against AIDS everybody must join hands in a partnership Against AIDS, and work with other organisations and agencies as part of the international community.
He commended the excellent work Society for Family Health has done in the state in the past years in stemming down the spread of HIV among Key Populations and Adolescent Girls and Young Women. He reiterated the need for government, development agencies and funders to open more ART friendly clinics (OSS) to improve access to ART among KPs.as a single One Stop Shop is highly inadequate to treat and care for the large population of Key Populations in Oyo state.
For the full speech kindly see below…
Key Note Address by Guest of Honour, Doctor, Kayode Ogunkunle, Program Manager, Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS during Society for Family Health (SFH) Global Fund HIV Close Out/Dissemination Meeting at Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre, June 20, 2019
AIDS is one of those problems that are beyond the capacity of any one community, or any state to solve on its own, or even any one nation alone. To win we must join hands in a partnership Against AIDS, and also work with other organisations and agencies as part of the international community.
We need the help of organisations like the Society for Family Health (SFH) and we are glad with the excellent work SFH has done in the state in the past years in stemming down the spread of HIV especially among Key Populations and Adolescent Girls and Young Women. SFH travelled the breath and length of this state in its efforts to reach out to Key populations with tailored specific HIV interventions and services.
Just last year SFH played significant role in leading the Programmatic Mapping and Key Populations Size Estimation Survey in the state which identified 1368 FSW hotspots, 710 MSM spots and 483 PWID spots. The study further put estimated number of FSWs in the State to 11,242, MSM 3,981 and PWID 14,741. The study today has led to better planning, programming of interventions for key populations.
The organization has equally established ART One Stop Shop (OSS) to improve access to ART among KPs. This has helped to strengthen good linkages resulting in improved treatment uptake among the Key Populations in the State.
However, looking at the large population of Key Populations in Oyo state (as revealed by the KP size estimation study), you will agree with me that a single One Stop Shop is highly inadequate. Therefore, we are appealing to funders and partners to work towards increasing the number of OSS in the State.
We equally commend SFH’s efforts in the development, establishment and running of the ‘First Ever One Stop Shop’ in the state. The good work you have started in the State will not go in vain as you prepare to hand over to another partner.
Results coming from the field, OSS and other KP friendly facilities in the state are pointer to the urgent need to scale up community-based Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) services for Key Populations where Key Populations can access HIV treatment without fear of stigma or discrimination.
Today, we add our voice again in appealing to all stakeholders in the health sector to continue to advocate for government policies that support an enabling environment for Key Populations to access HIV services in the country.
Currently, in Nigeria, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) is not readily accessible. The Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS should be seen shouldering the responsibility of increasing access of eligible patients who are at substantial risk of HIV, to PrEP.
As a priority, Nigeria should scale up PrEP beyond the ongoing demonstration studies and PrEP interventions in select clinics including Key Populations friendly facilities such as the One Stop Shop (OSS) for Key Populations and Adolescent Girls and Young Women.
As we review the wonderful work Society for Family Health (SFH) has done in our peaceful state, we shall not relent in appealing to all men and women to be faithful to one another, but otherwise to use condoms. It is possible for any of us to be infected for eight years without knowing it, and therefore to pass on the infection to others without knowing it.
We appeal to all sexually active people who have not tested for HIV, to have the test for the virus and if you are infected to openly seek the support of the community. But we do know that we can only make this call upon those who have been affected if the community accepts its responsibility to give support to People Living with HIV/AIDS.
All of us, in our communities, in our educational institutions, in our workplaces, in our media, in our financial institutions, our places of worship and recreation must work to eradicate the discrimination that denies support and dignity to those who need it. As traditional leaders and people of influence in our communities let us set an example.
Let us do everything possible to prevent ourselves and our partners from getting infected.
Let us build the Partnership Against AIDS so that it unites every community and sector of our society into a force for change.
Let us break the silence by speaking openly and
publicly about AIDS, and by
bringing an end to discrimination against those living with AIDS;
Let us care for those living with HIV/AIDS including Key Populations and the orphans, and give them support, with love and compassion.
Thank you for your time and patience.