United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission has launched 19.2 million dollars Integrated Child Health and Social Services Award Region 4 (ICHSSAA 4) to support 76,000 HIV Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
USAID made this known in a statement by the Public Affairs Department of U.S Embassy in Abuja.
According to the agency, the new activity is kick-starting in Bauchi and Adamawa States.
It said that the USAID’s Country Director, Stephen Haykin, joined Bauchi State Commissioner for Women’s Affairs and Child Development, Hajara Jibrin, at the virtual launch of the new activity.
The new activity was designed to protect about 76,000 vulnerable children and their households, made vulnerable or orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Bauchi and Adamawa states.
It said the $19.2 million ICHSSAA 4 activity was among four new USAID OVC programmes that was targeting about 450,000 people in six states.
It said that the Thevity’s integrated approach aimed to protect young people from the stigma of association with HIV and eliminate the perception of people living with HIV as anything less than fully productive community members.
It added that this USAID assistance would help Nigeria achieve a healthier, more resilient and educated population through support to children and their families made vulnerable to HIV.
It quoted Haykin as saying at the virtual launch, “we hope its successful practices and procedures can be duplicated and scaled up by state and local governments both in Bauchi and Adamawa.
“Over the next five years, ProHealth International, will implement ICHSSA 4 in concert with other indigenous non-governmental organisations in Adamawa and Bauchi states.
“To provide much needed HIV prevention, treatment, protection, and care and Support services to over 76,000 vulnerable children and their households.
“Working with indigenous community-based organisations, ICHSSA 4 will respond to specific needs of children living with HIV and their families, survivors of sexual violence, and children and adolescents at high risk of HIV.
“The activity will focus on strengthening families, communities, government systems, and civic institutions that care for HIV infected, affected, and at risk OVC and adolescents, and help teens stay healthy, stay in school, and lead safe and stable lives.
“The five-year ICHSSA 4 will build on the successes of other past and present USAID investments in partnership with local Nigerian organisations and state governments.
“To continue support OVCs, including the launches of the COVID-19 Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) in nine states and will help further solidify USAID’s relationship with state counterparts,” he said.
The Bauchi State First lady, Dr Aisha Bala Muhammad, while speaking at the launch, said the project would ensure provision of quality services for orphans and vulnerable children in a sustainable manner.
“Working with the existing mechanisms and structures, we can better the living conditions of the OVCS in Bauchi state,” she said.
USAID revealed that from July 2014 to December 2019, it had funded three similar OVC activities in six states that helped mitigate the impact of HlV and Tuberculosis among over 600,000 OVCs and their families.
It noted that the activities had helped improve health systems at the state and local levels while boosting capacity of local partner organisations.
It also disclosed that other states to be included in the ICHSAA4 intervention for the next five years included Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Lagos, and Kano.