The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM), through a sub-recipient contract under the National Agency for the Control of HIV/Aids (NACA), selected the MHRP/ HJFMRI Ltd. Gte Nigeria team to develop national guidelines for key population services. The award will allow the MHRP Nigeria team to help develop national guidelines for key population (KP) services.
Although current guidelines are in place for general care in Nigeria, this initiative will modify the current minimum package of prevention intervention (MPPI) strategy to make it more inclusive and mindful of KPs, who comprise 40% of the HIV epidemic. The MPPI has not been updated since 2013 and serves as the backbone for HIV prevention guidelines.
“It is a very exciting opportunity and a great honor for the program to be contributing to such a national process, in such a recognizable manner" said Dooshima Uganden-Okonkwo, Prevention Program Manager of HJFMRI Ltd. Gte in Nigeria. “Our team has been very successful in reaching KPs through our PEPFAR-supported program, and now we can apply our expertise to benefit even more people through these new national guidelines.”
To better understand how to best serve KPs, the national task team will virtually visit established KP programs from all over – both nationally and internationally to learn best practices as well as share experiences and lessons learned. The technical working group (TGW) set up to contribute to the development of the guidelines, will also consult with the community and community leaders to understand the needs and preferences of the intended audiences. They will also design prevention and treatment service packages accordingly.
The development and roll-out will happen over several phases and will rely on health facilities, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to implement these guidelines. The core group of national and regional trainers will support the roll-out through nation-wide orientation sessions and will include representatives from NACA, SACA, FMOH, NDLEA, Prison law-enforcement, GF, PEPFAR, KP secretariat, broader CSO’s and KP led organizations.
In addition to the traditional KP subpopulations, the comprehensive guidelines will include new targeted services for transgender persons, adolescents, and children of KPs. Services include HIV self-testing, harm reduction, mental health integration, psychosocial support services, cervical and prostate cancer screenings, STI testing and management, and more. Social media outreach, a new tool in the KP services menu, will facilitate KP’s access to information and referrals to specialized care.
A crucial part of the initiative is creating an extensive network of one-stop shop (OSS) clinics across the country. Currently, OSS clinics are available in a few metropolitan areas such as Lagos and Port Harcourt. The OSS clinics are community centers that serve as a safe place for prevention, testing and treatment options. Community ART teams expand the reach of the OSS in the community, offering a wide range of preventive and care services, so that most of the clients do not have to go into a physical office. This model has demonstrated an excellent performance and its expansion will ensure safe access to high quality services to a larger section of KPs across Nigeria.