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Toll Free HIV AIDS Hotlines In Nigeria
Sep 14th, 2007 - 10:21:44
Toll Free HIV AIDS Hotlines In Nigeria
Youth Empowerment Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, as at 2006 had an estimated population of 130 million of which 4.4% are infected with HIV. This is based on the last sentinel survey results released at the end of December, 2005. Of this alarming figure, 3.9% are young people aged 15-49 years, representing a major sect of the Nation's productive age and workforce of the economy.
Description: As part of efforts to mitigate the severe HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria, a preventive intervention using telephone as a means to counsel was initiated by the Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF) with the theme "Knowledge is Power" this project was first implemented with the technical support from the Johns Hopkins University Health Communication Partnership (HCP) with funds from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Coca-Cola Africa Foundation also provided funding for the Hotline for one year, though little funding now comes from the National Agency for the Control of AIDs (NACA). The hotlines, which are open 24 hours (base on commitment, hardwork and focus by the counselor) and manned by trained young counselors provide information aimed at increasing knowledge and awareness, encouraging behavior change, providing emotional support and referrals to health facilities and support groups.
Lessons learned: Over the last 6 years, over 101,800 calls were received 63% of which were males and 37% females. Of these, the age group 19-34 (85%) showed more quests for knowledge. Main issues discussed with callers include;
General information and transmission (22%),
Symptoms of AIDS (17%),
HIV testing (25%)
Prevention of HIV (11%),
Requests on drug treatment (9%),
Care giving for PLWHAs (5%),
Support group information (5%),
other diseases (3%)
One in every two calls made to the hotline ends in a referral, and calls have been received from all parts of Nigeria countries with majority coming from Lagos, Abuja, North West and the South South .
This write up presents a detailed update of the first 24-hour HIV/AIDS hotline in Nigeria based on a computerized review of hotline data from August 2001 to August 2007. It highlights the urgent need for scaled up services for VCT, care and support and clinically supervised ARV use.
The hotline also provides referrals to five VCT sites as well as other local health services. To help promote the HIV/AIDS hotline program, much work needs to be done to launch a mass media campaign (television, radio, newspaper, and print materials) in the rural communities and in different languages. The project also produced an HIV/AIDS question and answer book for health care providers. This book provides up-to-date information about HIV and answers frequently asked questions on a full range of HIV and AIDS related issues.
However, the need calls for more support on the 24 hours HIV/AIDS hotline to also come from other networks like MTN and Globacom to provide a toll free to its users since the toll free is only for those who have Celtel lines. Please note that some communities do not have Celtel network and are do not have the units on their phones to make call to the toll free, then what happens? Everyone is in need of information now! But most people will rather keep it closed up and disclose to only a far and secret friend which the hotline suits. The Hotlines have made changes and I think more emphasis needs to be done to promote the hotlines to the rural communities.
The hotlines are situated in four geo-political zones in Nigeria; in Lagos +234-802-7192-780,
please note that the Hotlines are free only from Celtel Line only!
Youth Empowerment Foundation,
Co-ordinator HIV/AIDS Hotline
LEAP Africa Alumni
aidshotline (at) yahoo.com
gozzle2002 (at) yahoo.com
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