The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has said that it has provided care and support to over half a million children orphaned or affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
USAID also said since 2018, the United States through USAID, tested over two million people for HIV and successfully linked 80 percent of those identified as positive into treatment.
USAID further said the United States government provided more than 285,000 HIV-positive Nigerians with life-saving therapy and continued to supply the country with HIV test kits and medicines as part of the United States government HIV/AIDS response.
USAID Mission Director, Steven Haykin, made the disclosure during the closing of the Local Partners for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project in Nigeria (LOPIN 3).
Haykin added that over the last five years, the activity operated at the community level and was managed by indigenous non-governmental organisations in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi, Adamawa, and Kano states.
USAID further said the $10 million programme which was implemented by Health Initiatives for Safety and Stability in Africa (HIFASS), provided more than 184,000 vulnerable children and their households with protection, care and support services since 2014.
While saying that the programme also provided critically-needed assistance to 48,000 of vulnerable children’s caregivers, Haykin stated that the services included education, health care services, nutrition and food security, including psychosocial support, household economic strengthening and legal protection.
“Through LOPIN 3 and its sister activities, USAID has provided care and support for more than half a million children orphaned or otherwise affected by HIV,” Haykin said.
Earlier, Haykin said the activity assisted the populations to obtain equitable access to quality health services and helped community health systems become more responsive to their needs.
He also said LOPIN 3 referrals provided access to life-saving health care and improved access to community-based social welfare services.
“This approach not only increased access to health services, but also inspired thousands to seek the care they needed to strengthen family resilience in vulnerable households,” Haykin also said.
Also speaking, HIFASS President and former Minister of State, Defence, Dr Roland Oritsejafor, thanked the Government of the United States for the five-year programme.
Oritsejafor added that the programme recorded monumental achievements during the five years period, even as he said LOPIN 3 provided Orphaned and Vulnurable Children (OVC) with comprehensive services.
“Let me appreciate and commend the Government and people of the United States of America for the proactive leadership role they are playing on global, human and environmental developments, promoting peace and stability worldwide.
“The successes of international collaboration in addressing health issues worldwide cannot be underestimated, especially in the face of global crisis like terrorism, economic recession, climate, food scarcity, governance, pandemics, and policy inconsistency,” Oritsejafor said.