NIGERIA—The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has officially opened the doors to its state-of-the-art multi-campus of excellence in public healthcare, treatment training, and research in Abuja.
The IHVN campus is a combination of twin tower 7-story office buildings, and clinical laboratories for diagnosis, research, and training.
It will also have a functional clinic space for patient care and clinical trials, bio-specimen repositories for storage and management of bio-specimens, multi-media lecture auditoriums, and meeting rooms and offices.
The campus unveiling was preceded by a scientific seminar on addressing local health challenges through quality research and partnership.
The seminar brought together key scientists and public-private stakeholders in the health sector with IHVN founding director, Professor Robert Gallo, Director, of the Institute of Human Virology, Baltimore USA.
Accompanied by Professor Alash’le Abimiku, Executive Director of the International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE), and Dr. Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa, Director General of the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
As an internationally recognized local and non-profit organization, IHVN is structured to develop and maintain linkages with other local and international organizations, in collaborative ways that support the Government of Nigeria’s health sector strategic plans.
The institute focuses on the prevention, treatment, and management of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria, COVID-19, Cancer, and other infectious and non-infectious diseases.
IHVN Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patrick Dakum, said, “The commissioning of the IHVN Campus demonstrates the Institute’s commitment as a leader in providing health service implementation, capacity building, research, and ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare services through innovative and evidence-based strategies.”
Dr. Dakum also says that with its two centers now on campus i.e., the Program Implementation Center (PIC) and the International Research Center of Excellence, the Institute will continue to develop training and expertise for the sustainability of HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria, and Cancer programs.
The commissioning of the IHVN Campus is expected to revolutionize the fight against emerging infectious and non-infectious diseases in Nigeria and the African Continent.
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) was established in 2004 as an affiliate of the Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA.
With the following founding members: Dr. William Albert Blattner, Dr. Alash’le Abimiku, Dr. John Farley, Dr. Patrick Sunday Dakum, Dr. John Vertefeuille, Dr. Abdulsalami Nasidi, and Dr. Charles Olalekan Mensah.
IHVN at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Nigeria
In addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis in Nigeria, IHVN was tasked with the development of infrastructure for treatment, care, prevention, and support for people living with HIV.
Confoundingly, the challenge was to roll out and scale up HIV care and treatment in a resource-poor setting in the early 2000s.
However, IHVN also realized that managing HIV was beyond dispensing medication, it also required training of healthcare workers, quality laboratory services, a treatment adherence program that ensures access to medications, and a support structure for adherence to prevent resistance to HIV.
IHVN rose above the challenge and began building Nigeria’s capacity to address the HIV epidemic with six tertiary hospitals.
The hospitals are the Gwagwalada Specialist Hospital, Abuja, now the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, and University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar.
Healthcare workers were trained, and laboratories were equipped to provide quality services such as haematology, blood chemistry, and CD4 count.
The institute credits its staff for their dedication and effort especially in that nascent period to provide succour for PLHIV with 159 patients commencing treatment in March 2004.
18 years later, IHVN continues to provide care and treatment to over 770, 000 individuals living with HIV in Nigeria having worked in more than 24 states over the years.
IHVN has now expanded its services to other infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria and non-infectious diseases.
The Institute’s key technical and funding partners include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.