Pathfinder International, an NGO, has pledged to promote the adoption of a new strategy in the management of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Country Representative, Pathfinder International, Dr Farouk Jega, made the promise when a coalition of stakeholders in HIV/AIDS management in Nigeria visited the organisation in Abuja on Friday.
Jega told the team that the new strategy known as the SAVE model was comprehensive and effective.
He said any development that would lead to the effective control of HIV/AIDS management in the country should be embraced by all.
According to him, Pathfinder International would support the course in spite of the increasing funding challenge was affecting the smooth implementation of the existing model.
“SAVE model is indeed comprehensive and should be embraced, but funding remains a challenge,” he said.
On her part, the Project Coordinator, HIV/AIDS, Global Fund, Dr Mary Mathew, said a review of models and strategies in the management of the disease was a welcome development.
She, however, underscored the need to conduct a holistic analysis and a comprehensive research on the model before its adoption in Nigeria.
Mathew said: “We need evidence from other countries in which it has been adopted to know if it can work especially with scarcity of funds in the country.”
The leader of the delegation, Mr Ibrahim Danladi, said the model was implementable and would address challenges in HIV management in Nigeria.
Danladi, who is also the Coordinator, Association of Religious Leaders Living with and Affected by HIV/AIDS (NINERELA), said the flaws of the ABC model in use in Nigeria called for the review.
He said the group was promoting the new model for adoption by government because of its efficacy and ability to address gaps observed in the strategy.
“We are here today to sell this idea of the SAVE model because we have seen it work in other countries.
“The issue is that this ABC model that is in use in Nigeria does not seem to be addressing all the challenges associated with the management of the disease.’’
Danladi said due to emerging challenges and other inherent factors the ABC model could no longer address the plight of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
He said the protracted issue of stigmatisation in the HIV/AIDS campaign could be effectively addressed if the SAVE model was adopted and properly implemented.
The Programme Officer of NINERELA, Miss Amber Erinmwinle, said in a short presentation that the SAVE model was already in use in some African countries with varying degrees of success recorded.
She said the new strategy emphasised safer practices, access to treatment, voluntary counselling, testing and empowerment in the management of HIV/AIDS.
Erinmwinle said available statistics indicated that Nigeria was among countries with a high degree of HIV/AIDS burden in the world, stressing that the trend could be checked by the adoption of a new model.
“SAVE model have some unique features that have put it far above the other model in the management of HIV/AIDS worldwide.
“SAVE is more inclusive, comprehensive, compassionate and should not be seen as a replacement for the existing model.
“It is most desirable because it has the potential to confront stigma and discrimination as well as appeals to all stakeholders,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the SAVE acronym stands for Safer practices, Access to treatment, Voluntary counselling and Empowerment. (NAN)