The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, James F. Entwistle, said the successes recorded by the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH) in Kano regarding prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV justify American taxpayer funding of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The ambassador made the comment when he visited mentor mothers at the AKTH on Saturday, February 15, 2014 the PMTCT program at AKTH, which hosts an active support group of mothers who have passed through the PMTCT program.
The ambassador spent about two hours at the hospital, inspecting the hospital’s hi-tech diagnostic laboratories and listening to the testimonies of mothers providing care. Mothers who have benefited successfully from PMTCT intervention serve as mentors for new clients enrolled in the PMTCT program. Mentor mothers take part in health talks, counseling and peer education, among other mentoring responsibilities.
Earlier, the ambassador was received and briefed on arrival at the hospital by the chief medical director, professor Aminu Zakari Mohammed, who expressed appreciation for the HIV care and support services provided by the U.S. government and its people, especially the development of the capacity of the hospital staff to mitigate the scourge of HIV, provision of high-tech laboratories for early infant diagnosis of HIV and the multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, and infrastructural upgrades carried out in the hospital.
He said that the hospital is already known as a center of excellence for HIV treatment and care in addition to its feats in renal medicine. “We have conducted over 30 kidney transplants using our consultants and doctors in this hospital,” Mr. Mohammed said.
Director General of Kano State’s Agency for the Control of AIDS Dr. Sa’adatu Saidu, who represented the state government, thanked the U.S. government for its support, while the project coordinator of the HIV program in the hospital, professor Musa Babashani, said that 19,000 people have so far been enrolled for HIV care, while 12,000 are on antiretroviral therapy. He also said that 31,000 pregnant women have received PMTCT services.
All these achievements were made possible through collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Ambassador Entwistle’s entourage included Etta B. Toure, the embassy’s political officer for Kano, and Dr. Obinna Ogbanufe of the (CDC).