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Checking burden, prevalence of non-communicable diseases amongst HIV patients

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The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), in collaboration with ISN Medical, has begun local research on non-communicable diseases amongst persons living with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV).

The research became imperative considering that though more people living with HIV now have access to anti-retroviral treatment, many are still coming down with non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and cardiac diseases among others.

To this, ISN Medical has donated premium laboratory equipment and reagents worth over N25 million to the General Hospital, Kubwa, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, to boost this research and promote quality medical diagnosis at the facility.

Acting Regional Sales Manager for ISN, Vitalis Echebiri, who disclosed while presenting the equipment to the hospital in Abuja, observed that the firm is committed to strengthening indigenous research efforts through the provision of local funding for the development of medical content.

He noted that this research is to ascertain the burden, prevalence, risk factors and incidence of non-communicable diseases among people living with HIV using five sites across the FCT, including Kubwa General Hospital adding that ISN believes that Nigerians will benefit from the innovative scientific findings that this study will inform. Echebiri said some of the instruments donated include Cobas c111 and AVL, with the capacity to run over 40 tests including electrolytes, renal function, liver function, lipid profile, blood glucose, proteins and critical care.

According to him, the Mindray BC5150 (a fully automated hematology analyser), Merck Lab Water unit and BD Consumables were also donated. All the equipment will be stationed at Kubwa General Hospital and will become property of the hospital once the research is completed.

It is the first time an indigenous company is sponsoring research study coordinated by IHVN. Executive Director of the International Research Centre of Excellence (IRCE), an arm of IHVN, conducting the study, Prof Alash’le Abimiku, explained that starting with Kubwa Hospital as the first site, the research will expand to other sites including University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Nyanya General Hospital, Asokoro District Hospital and Police Clinic, adding that the study is a cohort research in which 200 people living with HIV will be registered, alongside another 200 people who test negative for HIV. They will be registered and tested periodically for non-communicable diseases over a period of two years.

Abimiku, who was represented by the coordinator of IRCE and co-investigator on the research project, Dr. Elima Jedy-Agba, observed that the aim is to characterize the burden, prevalence and incidence of non-communicable diseases in people living with HIV,” said

“People living with HIV are living longer, getting to that age when they develop non-communicable diseases.”
Responding, Medical Director of the Kubwa General Hospital, Dr. Lasisi Muideen, said,” It was generally a decision of the FCTA Health Secretariat. It is a multi-centered study happening in many of our facilities. Kubwa happens to be one of them and we are always glad to be part of a progressive research like this one.”

“Kubwa is in the heart of the city and its services straddle adjacent states – Kogi Niger, Kaduna, Nasarawa. It is affordable to many classes of people.

“The study will consider four groups of non-communicable diseases – cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, cancer (cervical and prostate cancer) and chronic obstructive pulmonary airway diseases. The research will provide data that can help in more pro-active and effective management of these non-communicable diseases…”

“This research is very important. Since we started comprehensive HIV services here, we have recruited 2,500 patients, majority of them are adult males and females. Due to the effectiveness of HIV treatment, many of them have survived and have now entered the adult age of life where diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases are very prevalent. You see them being on HIV treatment and at the same time they develop these other diseases.”

Project Coordinator for HIV services and Site Investigator for the research at Kubwa General Hospital, Dr. Collins Kalu, said: “It is very important that we evaluate it so that while we are taking care of HIV infection, which for now they have almost overcome, we are also taking care of these other diseases that come with age. We are able to evaluate to know how many of them will have non-communicable diseases and if they do, we start managing it on time.”

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