Pediatric HIV: Stakeholders Unite For Strategic Partnerships, Advocacy

baby hand AIDS ribbon

In a collective effort to eradicate pediatric HIV in Nigeria, stakeholders have joined forces, actively working towards securing a healthier future for the nation’s children.

The commitment to eliminating paediatric HIV was underscored at a recent roundtable event in Abuja, themed “Now is the Time: Fighting Pediatric HIV Through Strategic Partnership.” The event, organised by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare under the National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and STIs Control Programme (NASCP), aimed to strategise and enhance collaborative efforts.

The national coordinator of NASCP, Dr. Adebobola Bashorun emphasised the significance of identifying children with HIV early on, stressing the need for effective implementation of strategies with strong government and partner commitment.

“Enhanced advocacy and sensitisation were also stressed to dispel misconceptions in certain rural communities,” Bashorun stated.

EGPAF’s country director, Dr. Avese Torbunde highlighted the feasibility of ending HIV in children compared to adults, emphasising the crucial role of prioritising medication for children. Torbunde advocated for self-testing, community outreach and youth engagement as essential strategies in the fight against pediatric HIV.

A consultant pediatrician at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Prof. Rosemary Ugwu emphasised the preventability of pediatric HIV. She discussed the evolution of paediatric HIV drugs and highlighted the convenience of fixed drug combinations.

State programme officer at the Africa Network of Adolescent and Young Person Development, Mr. Peter Pius called for adolescent involvement in decision-making regarding paediatric HIV. Recognising them as critical stakeholders and advocates for their own health and socio-economic needs, Pius stressed the importance of human-centered design, actively engaging adolescents to shape programs that address their unique challenges.

The collaborative efforts of these stakeholders reflect a concerted push to combat pediatric HIV, with a focus on strategic partnerships, advocacy and community engagement.

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