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NAS makes first appearance before PAC/PEC

Apr 29, 2016, 10:34 AM | Article By: Kaddijatou Jawo

ujmNational AIDS Secretariat (NAS) appeared for the first time before the joint session of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprises committees (PAC/PEC) of the National Assembly yesterday, since its inception in 2001.

Presenting their report before deputies, the Director General of NAS, Ousman Badjie, said the National AIDS Secretariat had continued to deliver on its mandate of coordination and monitoring of the national response on HIV/AIDS, in addition to fulfilling its responsibility as a Principal Recipient (PR) for the Global Fund Round 8 HIV Grant.

The 2014 annual report is largely based on activities implemented under the Global Fund Round 8 HIV Grant, highlighting achievements, best practices, lessons learnt and challenges encountered during the period under review.

He said the service delivery areas under the purview of NAS are mostly counseling and testing, prevention of mother to child transmission, HIV Clinical care and Anti-Retroviral Therapy, and health system strengthening.

“In addition, there is ongoing programme to support post-exposure prophylaxis services in health facilities.

“HIV counseling and testing services are being provided through static health facilities and community outreach approach. The programme is intensifying both the client and provider initiated counseling and testing approaches to increase uptake of HIV Counseling Testing.”

He said that other strategies such as demand creation by the partners involved in community HIV prevention programmes and on-going outreach services “are paying dividends on HIV Counseling Testing uptake”.

He added that routing programmatic data revealed an over achievement of the target (109 per cent) of 2014 HIV Counseling Testing target.

However, he noted, stigma and denial associated with the disease had continued to affect HIV Counseling Testing services uptake.

The Director General further told the committees that under the PMTCT services, the programme attained an annual cumulative coverage of 92 per cent of 2014 target for counseling and texting of pregnant women.

“The programme also recorded 63 per cent overage for the administration of ARV prophylaxis for positive women and their babies.”

The 42 per cent results on the administration of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis to exposed babies “have not been impressive,” Mr Badjie added.

“This is due to stigma and denial associated with the disease and the outcome of their pregnancies.”

He further reported that the health technician training institute under the University of The Gambia, School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences “finally completed” the training of assistants and technicians in pharmacy, laboratory, physiotherapy and radiography as part of HSS component of the grant.

“The component also supported the nurse training institutions and Leeds Metropolitan University in collaboration with UTG to train health workers to certificate and degree levels respectively.”

Overall, he went on, 130 health workers graduated from these training institutions in 2014, although “the biomedical equipment technician training is yet to commence, despite efforts being pursued to start the training, due to lack of trainers and training environment”.

Members of the National AIDS Secretariat are to report back to the National Assembly for the consideration of their annual activity Report and financial statement for the year under review.