The Nigerian government needs to implement a comprehensive health intervention that addresses all cases of communicable and noncommunicable diseases in the country, rather than focus on a selected few.
The Nigeria Implementation Science Alliance (NISA) made this call on Tuesday at its 2019 conference in Abuja.
The Chief Executive Officer and Co-chair of NISA 2019 conference, Patrick Dakum, who was speaking to journalists at the conference, stressed that every disease is crucial.
Mr Dakum said that a key objective of the conference was to ensure an increase in low uptake of health service outcomes in the country, in a collaboration with the public and private sector.
“You go to a particular place, they are doing very well in medicine and immunisation. If you go to another place they are doing very well in HIV, so the prevention and the treatment are known but the uptake of the service is low. The question is why?
“So implementing partners with public and private sectors and communities are looking at how to increase the uptake of health services. The essence of this is how do we ensure that the uptake of services is optimal.
“Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a concern and in this implementation science, we are looking at NCDs too and how to ensure that implementation is very apt.
“This disease entities are very crucial, there are several programmes that address them but definitely a comprehensive health intervention is what we need in this country,” he said.
In his remark, NISA board chair, Echezona Ezeanolue, listed its contributions to include the provision of training and support for the implementation workforce to enable them to develop, refine ideas, seek funding and implement the ideas.
He stressed the need to identify and place on treatment, the 1.9 million Nigerians currently estimated to be living with HIV in the country, in order to put a stop to its transmission.
Mr Ezeanolue said the $100 million which was used for the Nigerian HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIS) would be wasted if the persons said to be living with HIV are not identified and placed on prompt treatment.
“The NAIS study cost $100 million to look at how many people actually have HIV in Nigeria when you get that information what do you do with it that is called implementation science.
“So one of the things we did now is that once we have gotten that information and we know exactly where people who live with HIV are living, we want to go there and identify them so that we can put them on treatment.
“Once you put someone who has HIV on treatment, you can actually stop that transmission from that person to another person and that is one of the ways we can use the Information we get from research into making an impact.
“It is not about research; if you don’t use it to do something. Use the research to get the data, the information that helps us to actually make the impact. If we know this is the area that has the highest number of HIV, we need to identify the people, we need to place them on treatment so that we can stop transmission,” he said.
The Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Aliyu Gambo, said it was a good opportunity for an exchange of ideas among scientists.
“We look forward to having more of this conference because it brings together people from different groups from across and outside the country.
“And you look at what is working based on new knowledge that is being generated and you learn from each other and also other people learn from you. This is very good,” he said.