Evaluation of HIV Surveillance System in Rivers State, Nigeria
Background: Rivers State has been reported to have the highest HIV prevalence of all the thirty-six states in Nigeria. HIV surveillance system generates information for timely and appropriate public health action. Evaluation of the surveillance system is vital in ensuring that the purpose of the surveillance system is being met. This study aimed to evaluate the HIV surveillance system in Rivers State from 2012-2014.
Methodology: This is a surveillance evaluation involving qualitative method and review of 2012-2014 HIV surveillance data. The evaluation process was carried out in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on public health surveillance evaluation. Key informant interview (KII) sessions were held with stakeholders at all levels to assess the operation, functionality and key attributes of the surveillance system.
Results: The evaluation revealed that the HIV surveillance system is functional and operates a passive type of surveillance using the bottom to top approach in data transmission. The findings indicated that the system is simple, flexible and acceptable. However, it lacks data stability and representativeness is limited by non-inclusion of private health facilities. The surveillance data collected for the period of 2012 to 2014 revealed HIV prevalence rates of 13.6% (2012), 7.3% (2013) and 9.4% (2014).
Conclusion: The HIV surveillance system in Rivers State is a useful tool for planning public health activities. The institution of measures to prevent strike actions among health workers in the State will enhance the stability of data. Private health facilities should be included in the HIV surveillance system to ensure better representativeness.
Keywords: HIV, surveillance, Rivers State