A 500 level medical Student of the Gombe State University (GSU), Ibrahim Mohammed Bello, has secured over 50,000 Oraquick HIV test kits for distribution across Nigeria.
Suleiman Babayo Gidado, a member of the Nigeria Youth Parliament, representing Gombe North said the effort was successful following their partnership with the Nigeria Medical Students Association.
Making the presentation of over 3,000 kits for Gombe State through the State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, Ibrahim Mohammed who is also the National Director for the Standing Committee for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights including HIV and AIDS of the Nigeria Medical Students Association, said the commodity is to be distributed free.
He said, during a meeting, he was able to convince an NGO, DKT International Nigeria, whose aim is reducing maternal mortality, to give out over 50,000 HIV Oraquick screening test kits not just for Gombe State, but for Nigeria as a whole.
According to him, “my standing committee has an MoU with DKT International, an NGO that is aimed at reducing maternal mortality. So I went into a meeting with them and I was able to convince them to give over 50,000 HIV Oraquick screening test kits not just for Gombe State, but Nigeria as a whole.
“I secured over 3,000 kits for my own State and I think for a State as young as Gombe to be able to direct this distribution, is a win for all as indigenes of Gombe”, he explained.
He explained further that the commodity is a self test kit that does not use blood but saliva, adding, ” you can get your result within 20 minutes and you can do it yourself thereby avoiding that stigma and discrimination that is attached to HIV testing in hospitals”.
He said, they are moving to some of the Primary Health Centres in the State for demonstration and distribution of the commodity together with a questionnaire for them to assess the health situation in that part of the State.
Receiving the commodities as well as commissioning them on behalf of the State Government, the State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Habu Dahiru, expressed delight that one of their sons took the initiative to get the commodity for the common good of all.
He explained that it will go a long way in improving health care delivery in Gombe State because, “if you know your status, we will now get you counselled and it will reduce the spread”.
According to him, ” if someone is found positive, he is going to be placed on some drugs and it is going to reduce the virile load on the person and he’ll also be counselled and he can practice safe sex and take other safety measures for himself and others.
“It will also reduce mother to child transmission and it will drastically reduce the burden on the society. So, testing is key, you have to know the status before you know what to do in the case of managing it to reduce it’s spread”, he maintained.
While promising to judiciously utilize the commodities as well as taking cognisance of quality control to avoid loss or usage after expiration, the Commissioner requested Mohammed Bello and his team to ” share with us the result you’ll get so that we do another follow up. It’s not just to identify, but how we will manage it”.