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IHVN Participates in 54th Union World Conference

The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has participated in the 54th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Paris. The conference, which had the theme, “Transforming Evidence into Practice,” provided a platform for implementers and researchers to share experiences and present the latest scientific research on lung health, to network, and discuss the need for evidence-based health policies and decisions.

IHVN facilitated a symposium and presented 14 oral abstracts and five e-posters. Staff from the USAID TB-LON 3 project, Global Fund Public Private Mix (GF PPM) and International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE) shared experiences and research findings from the Institute’s project and research activities in Nigeria.

Abstracts were presented on community tuberculosis screening activities, the use of artificial intelligence for tuberculosis case-finding, private-sector collaboration to fight tuberculosis, childhood tuberculosis, and drug-resistant tuberculosis amongst others.

IHVN staff also participated in sharing information about efforts to address tuberculosis in Nigeria at the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP) and USAID booths.

IHVN Director of TB Programs and Chief of Party of the USAID TB-LON 3 Project, Dr. Aderonke Agbaje, said that “Nigeria has made progress in engaging all stakeholders towards finding the missing tuberculosis cases, improving the coverage of tuberculosis treatment and providing quality, patient-centered services. IHVN contributed significantly to the country’s success and as such, it is important to share the best practices we deployed in achieving this. We also learned about novel interventions, new tools, and new regimens that will further improve the services we provide,” she said.

Prior to the conference, Dr. Agbaje joined more than 130 participants at the Global Meeting of the Working Group on Public-Private Mix (PPM) for TB Prevention and Care to share experiences on PPM implementation, innovative approaches as well as lessons learned from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on private sector health service delivery in Nigeria.

IHVN Wins Five Gold Trophies at FIDAF Tournament

IHVN Wins Five Gold Trophies at FIDAF Tournament

In a resounding display of teamwork and determination, the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) has won gold trophies in football, chess, tug-of-war, basketball, and relay at the 12th Federation of International Agencies Football (FIDAF) Tournament organized in Abuja.

The FIDAF tournament, which is organized for non-governmental organization employees to foster work-life balance and promote a healthy company culture, brought together implementing partners to play badminton, table tennis, volleyball, football, basketball, tug-of-war, relay race, chess.

IHVN Director, Administration and Finance, Mr. Olu Alabi, who was present at the tournament gave a “Kudos to the IHVN team” for a job well done. He represented the IHVN management and cheered the football team to victory. The IHVN team also came second place in table tennis and got a bronze medal in volleyball.

IHVN Assistant Team Manager and IHVN Senior Building Services Officer, Ikeobi Mbonu expressed his excitement at the victory.

“I am super excited, I can’t believe that we finally have the football trophy, last year we did not get it but this year we do, we thank God for giving us life and good health. I also want to appreciate my colleagues who came to practice regularly and those who came to cheer us.  Keep the IHVN flag flying high. We’re coming back stronger,” he added.

Coach Kolawole Lebi, who trained the football players, appreciated the IHVN management for their support. “They drafted me because they believed in me and we did it!”

IHVN Senior Program Officer Laboratory, Mr Muyiwa Balogun who played chess as the defending champion, said that it was a remarkable outing. “It was very tough in the beginning but each time we play, we meet different opponents. I’m happy I was able to deliver.  Up IHVN! I feel happy” he said.

FIDAF Tournament Organizer, Grace Uadia said that to encourage healthy competition and time to unwind, FIDAF will coordinate monthly friendly competitions. “It has been hectic putting this together, but it’s been worth it. The idea is not to play and forget work but to train, build capacity and then play.  There have been certain challenges but at the end it is worth it” she added.

Staff of organizations such as Society for Family Health, AFENET, APIN Public Health Initiatives, E-Health, British High Commission, ECEWS, and the US Embassy participated in the tournament.

Biotechnicians Receive Training on Laboratory Equipment Maintenance

To enhance the skills of biotechnicians to maintain laboratory equipment across the country, the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) has conducted a five-day training on calibration and certification of biosafety cabinet (BSC) equipment.

 IHVN NSF Enhanced Accredited Biosafety Cabinet Certifier, Mr. Olatokun F Ayobami, said that BSC equipment is the main containment equipment used to safeguard laboratory workers and the environment against infectious biological materials. “The training is to build the capacities of staff of Implementing Partners and the government,” he said.

Participants were taken through lectures and practical sessions on installing, using, and performing basic checks for Bio-safety cabinets.

IHVN Senior Technical Adviser, Laboratory Services, Dr. Sam Peters urged participants to utilize the skills gained at the basic certification training. “This is the first time this kind of training is being held in Nigeria. I urge you to hold firmly to what you have learned,” he said.

A trainee, Mr. Nsiffiok Sebastian Okon noted that the training has equipped them and spurred them to advance towards being internationally certified Biosafety Cabinet Engineers. “The training has been very instructive with a lot of opportunity for hands-on sessions,” he said.

Community Mothers-Love Parties Provide HIV Services to Women 

More than 300 pregnant and lactating women in Chibiri and Gaube communities in Kuje, Abuja have received free HIV counseling and testing services at Mother’s-Love Parties organized by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN).

Mothers-Love Party, which is an IHVN initiative, is a gathering for women and children in communities to sensitize women on care for their babies, personal and environmental hygiene, the importance of immunization and registration, and antenatal care. In such parties, IHVN also provides mother-care packs for women with items such as sanitary pads, gloves, and cotton wool, amongst others.

IHVN Senior Program Officer, Mrs. Helen Mutong said “By organizing Mothers-Love Parties, IHVN aims to increase awareness, enhance access to services, and ultimately reduce the transmission of HIV from mother to child. This strategic approach ensures that all pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and pediatric patients receive the necessary support and care for a healthy outcome in line with the overall Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) strategy.”

During the mother’s love parties in Kuje, free malaria, hepatitis B, and syphilis tests were also provided for attendees, including children between the ages of 1-14 years.

Mrs. Mutong added “we have seen that some pregnant women do not go to the hospital to access care, so we are bringing care to them. Most of the women would rather have their children through Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs). We work with the TBA to ensure safe deliveries and referral to the nearest health facility.”

Other strategies being adopted to reach women in communities include collaboration with religious leaders to create awareness about the need for HIV testing especially for pregnant women.

One of the pregnant women who got tested, Mrs. Ona, (pseudonym) expressed her joy at the initiative. “Most times, we do not have transport to go to the hospital and when we go, they give us a list of things to buy so we just decide to have our baby at home, but today, IHVN has shared these packs that have everything we need for delivery, so I am very happy,” she said.

IHVN donates a Droplet PCR machine to NCDC

To strengthen Nigeria’s capacity for multiple disease testing and surveillance, the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has donated a Droplet Digital PCR machine to the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

The machine, which is the first of its kind in the country, is equipped to generate over 20,000 small droplets for multiple disease testing and carry out surveillance using wastewater as well as other sources to provide insight into disease hot spots. The equipment from Bio-Rad can also be used in addressing exciting biological research questions.

IHVN Senior Program Officer, Dr, Monday Tola, who handed over the equipment to NCDC, at the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, said that diseases including monkey-pox and COVID-19 can be diagnosed using the machine.

“The machine can test 20,000-minute droplets so you won’t miss anything in the laboratory test and it can test multiple diseases at a go,”

NCDC Head of Reference Laboratory, Dr. James Avong, said “This equipment is a new technology that will help in environment and human survey; effluents can be gotten from waste and can be analyzed. By using the machine, we will be able to identify the different strains of COVID through waste. Also, when there is also an outbreak of any new disease, this equipment will enable us to detect it fast. For us at NCDC it is a breakthrough to have this equipment, we are going to utilize it as much as possible in surveillance and prompt response to diseases.”

After the installation of the equipment by LASEC, more than 20 laboratory engineers and technicians from APIN Global Health Initiatives, NCDC, and IHVN received a two-day training on its use. The training featured practical sessions on utilizing the machine.

The PCR machine was bought with funding support from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).