HIV Counseling and Testing Training of Health Workers

Although the HIV/AIDS epidemic has been reported by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health (2006) to have stabilized at 3.1%, the lack of awareness about HIV/AIDS among the population continues to be of great concern to many. In a country of 141 million people, 3.1% translates to 4.37 million people living with HIV/AIDS.

Health professionals who are in different parts of the country are often heard saying that they need more training on the treatment and care of people living with HIV/AIDS, that a number of them lack the basic knowledge to be able to educate people in their communities on how to prevent the spread of HIV, and to treat and care for people living with the disease, particularly those who live in rural areas where they do not have access to health facilities.

In 2006, the Society for Family Health (SFH)  was a recipient of the Global Fund for setting up voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) centers, and monitoring and evaluation. SFH awarded a grant to Gede Foundation to partner with them in training health workers in a number of states.The project targeted 360 health workers for the training with the purpose of posting them in VCT sites that would be set up in the Northern States. In 2006, 196 health care workers were trained from 7 states (Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba, Kogi, Niger, Adamawa, and Katsina) while 142 health care workers were trained in 2007 from 6 states (Plateau, Gombe, Kaduna, Sokoto, Borno and the Federal Capital Territory/Abuja).  This totals to 338 trained health workers, a number that is 22 participants short of the target number. The 10-day training consisted of counseling, testing, laboratory practices, and record keeping.