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​KDSG, UNICEF Commences Expansion of AYP Project in 7 LGAs

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

Kaduna State Government with funding support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), on Monday, commenced the expansion of HIV intervention programme for Adolescents and Young People (AYP).

The UNICEF supported program is aimed at scaling up HIV combination prevention, treatment and care services for AYPs in 7 Local Governments Areas (LGAs) of the State, after the initial pilot in two LGAs of Jabba and Jema’a between 2014 and 2016.

Speaking during an awareness creation meeting for the AYPs, at Chikun LGA, Director, Prevention, Treatment, Care and Psychology of the Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr. Juliana Dauda, said the need to expand the intervention programme became necessary because of the high level of HIV prevalence among young people.

She disclosed that about 18,000 AYPs in the state are currently living with HIV, saying, “it is estimated that we have about 18,000 adolescents and young persons presently positive for HIV in Kaduna State.

“That is why we feel for this young group, the only way they can go and access these services by going to the facilities which are not adolescent friendly is to come up with innovation that will build adolescents friendly capacity that will meet their needs.

“Because they know their needs, they know when and how their intervention should be restructured to be available and accessible to them. The programme is not new but the strategy is a bit more innovative and creative because of the way the services will be delivered.”

Adolescence is a time of enormous developmental, social and biological transition experimentation. The adolescents age which falls within 10 to 24 years are young people who constitute about 33% of the population, are found in and out of school.

Some of the AYPs who spoke at event commended UNICEF and the state government for coming up with an intervention programme aimed at increasing service access to young people in the society and also involving them in decision making, policy formulation and implementation.

19, years old, Adekoniye Omowumi, blamed parents and caregivers for not exposing their children to sex education, saying “our parents have to get really involved, they have been trying to hide sex education from us, they don’t come out plainly to teach us about it.

“But from what I have been taught today, I get to understand that our parents have to be very closely involved for this to be a success.

On his part, Josiah Yakubu, another young person, said it is very difficult for young people to access healthcare facilities manned by older people especially when they want HIV test and counseling for fear of not being reported to their parents.

He noted that with the AYP programme it very easy for them to access the facilities knowing that those delivery the services are their peers and they will see it as fun to go for testing and counseling.

Chikun, Igabi, Lere, Kagarko, Birnin-Gwari, Jaba & Jema’a are the LGAs where the second phase of the programme is being implemented.

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