El-Rufai and the Kaduna Health Sector: An Assessment of HIV Prevalence

El-Rufai and the Kaduna Health Sector: An Assessment of HIV Prevalence

On assumption of office one year ago, in one of his first major state function, “Kaduna State Health Week”, organised by the state government, governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, in an emotional expression lamented the poor state of healthcare system in the state.


The governor, declared that the situation is unacceptable and immediately pronounced his commitment to the health sector, “my administration has recognized health as an important public good, and has also identified it as one of the priority areas of this administration.

“Our goal is to deliver for Kaduna State citizens better health and longer life expectancy, and in this quest we seek results that will place our state in the top tier for healthcare delivery”.

As at the time he took over as the governor, HIV prevalence in the state was so high to the extent that it gained world recognition as the second highest in the entire country, a position the governor himself acknowledged when he said, “Kaduna State has the second highest HIV prevalence in the country, and only 36 per cent of mothers have the benefit of being attended by skilled birth attendants”.



El-Rufai also said current coverage of measles vaccine is 56 per cent, reflecting dismal immunization coverage for 12-23 month-olds of only 35 per cent. Latest available date suggests that only a paltry 2 per cent of under-fives with malaria are treated with ACTs”.

“We are committed to devoting more resources to improving the life chances of our people. To free these resources, we are focused on reducing the cost of governance. This is why the Deputy Governor and I have voluntarily decided to donate 50 per cent of our salary and allowances to the basket treasury.

“We look forward to collaborating with you in achieving our goals in the health sector. But we want to avoid the hitherto uncoordinated, haphazard approach. There is a need to set targets in each of the important indices for measurable outcomes and thereafter create a basket of funds from the different donor agencies to support our government’s health programme”.


In his submission he said 100,000 avoidable deaths were recorded annually in the state due to poor health care services. He expressed sadness that years of neglect of the health sector by successive administrations had left healthcare delivery in “a very sorry state”.

All these prompted the governor to unveil a new primary health care law for the state. The law which permits the state to organise its primary healthcare activities under one roof, made it possible for workers in primary healthcare centres from local governments to be transferred to the state civil service.

One year on, all the stories has since changed for the better, as the state government has since embarked on massive infrastructure development in the sector, with about 255, primary health centers being built across all local Government Areas in the state with each political ward getting one each.

Some major hospitals upgraded to specialists hospital while the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital transformed into a wold class University teaching hospital of human medicine department of the Kaduna state University.image
The State former Commissioner for Health, now Commissioner of Education, Professor Andrew Nok, recently revealed that 300 beds Kaduna State Specialist Hospital abandoned since 2011 will soon be ready to attend to patients in March 2017.

Speaking while presenting the Ministry’s scorecard in the last one year to correspondents in Kaduna, Professor Nok, said work on the project is at 70% level, adding that efforts are ongoing to completed the work in 10 months.                               image

One of the salient achievement of this administration, is the drastic reduction of HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state. The Adolescents and Young People (AYP), HIV ‎service delivery and prevention programme, in both Jama’a and Jaba Local Government Areas which put the state in the second highest position in the country, in terms of HIV prevalence, was organized in collaboration with the State government, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ‎and Society for Family Health (SFH).

‎According to the state ministry of health report, before this administration came on board, Jama’a and Jaba LGAs has the highest HIV prevalence of 9.2% in 2011 and 7.7, 7.0% in 2012 respectively‎, which necessitated the pilot of HIV comprehensive service uptake for AYPs in the two LGAs.

In course of the programme, it was discovered that the HIV prevalence in the two LGAs has significantly reduced.

Speaking of the decline exclusively with NEWSWEB EXPRESS, AYP programme manager, Barnabas Anthony, field officer, SFH Kaduna Field Office, said “what’s on ground now is far more different from the records of papers.”


According to him, “at the end of March 2016, we tested about 57,000 people and out of the 57,000 we only got 125 people who were tested positive, which suggest that some of the findings we have seen from surveys which says that Jama’a and Jaba have increasing prevalence rate might not be to correct.

“What we saw from the field was not really so, but again we try to find out what exactly is responsible for this survey, sometimes you test about 100 people you hardly get 2 or 3 that are positive.”

Worthy of note is the fact that for the programme to be successful, the Kaduna state government paid all its counterpart funds to enable its partners achieve this fit, this Barnabas commended the governor for.

‎Another area of commendation for the Kaduna government and its partners is the impact the programme made on the behavioural pattern of the AYPs in the two LGAs. For example, in a brief discussion with one of the beneficiaries, 18years Adams Mercy imagewho before the commencement of the programme was involved in multiple sexual relationship said she discovered the danger in having sexual relationship before marriage and therefore pledged to stay away from unnecessary sexual lost.

The objective of the programme was to ensure that the proportion of AYP that have been tested and known their HIV status and accessing appropriate services is increased by 25 % in the two LGAs.

‎At the launch of the programme 18 months ago, about one hundred thousand (100,000) AYPS were targeted to be reached, but that Barnabas said was suppassed as organisers were able to reach about 169, 675 AYPs, that is 93,675 males and 76,260 females with HIV knowledge, while 56, 986, that is 29, 326 males and 27, 660 females accessed HIV counselling and testing as against the 40,000 target.”

For this, my assessment of governor El-Rufai’s first year in office I can say huge success in the health sector especially on HIV/AIDS related issues, the hope and fate is that the government will do more before this administration clocks two years.


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