The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) said on Friday that it had concluded plans to upgrade the HIV and AIDS data bank, to ensure proper HIV and AIDS programming and planning in the country.
Dr Greg Ashefor, Deputy Director, Strategic Knowledge Management Department of the agency, said this at the national Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Working Group (METWG) meeting in Abuja.
``We now have better reporting, we now have quality data, the data now transforms to information which now inform programming and planning.
``Like now we have increase in HIV prevalence Benue State, we now said okay more funding should go to Beune on HIV prevention; we now provide evidence to do more, we can said this strategy you are using is not working very well because of the evidence, information I am getting, can you change your strategy, the essence we provide information for change.”
Ashefor said UNAIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group (MERG) recommended that each country should form a monitoring and evaluation technical group to provide technical and strategic inputs to HVI and AIDS programmes.
He said that such information would be useful for evidence-based planning and decision making towards addressing the HIV and AIDS scourge in an effective and efficient manner.
Ashefor said the group would involve different sectors, donors, development and implementing partners as well as civil society organisations.
According to him, the group would bring together the technical expertise needed to address ongoing and emerging issues.
Ashefor said the objective of the group was to provide technical support to NACA in order to effectively coordinate national HIV and AIDS strategic information activities in health and non-health sectors.
He said that it would also provide support for achieving the ten targets of the High Level Meeting in June 2011 and also assist in data collection and reporting initiative involving validation of quarterly and annual reports.
Meanwhile, Ashefor told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the meeting that the major problem of the monitoring and evaluation technical working group was funding.
He said that although the UN had recommended that 10 per cent of funds projected for all HIV and AIDS programmes should be used for monitoring and evaluation, only one per cent of the money was being used for such exercise.
Ashefor, who also identified the problem of manpower as a another challenge, noted that the NACA would collaborate with the Obafemi Awolowo University and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, to enhance the capacity of monitoring and evaluation experts involved in the programme.
``But of recent the M and E is growing, we now know the importance of monitoring and evaluation, plans to track what we are doing and time to time to evaluate what we are doing against the objective of the said programme.
``The challenge has been first of all funding, UN recommends that ten per cent of the programme money should be used for monitoring and evaluation, but in the past we use one per cent, two per cent, now there is great improvement on this.
``Then another issue is that monitoring and evaluation is not seen as a professional as such, anybody can be M and E person that is why new people coming in, so you still have to go through the progress of learning.”