Nigeria will soon be on the path to eliminating AIDS

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Group Photograph R-L Unicef Country Director, UNAIDS, DG NACA, Acting Permanent Secretary, Hon Minister of Health, Minister of State for Health, WR © WHO Nigeria

Abuja, 1 November 2018 - Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole indicated on 30 October 2018 that the country will soon be on track to eliminating the dreaded Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDs).

“I must inform you that since the beginning of the National HIV response about 1,066,223 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVs) including 54,167 children have been placed on treatment with support from donors, development partners and the Government of Nigeria”, Professor Adewole said.

In a keynote address at the official launch of the One Year Roadmap of National Treatment and PMTCT Programme (NTPP) in Abuja, the minister stressed government’s resolve in containing HIV and eliminating AIDs. The minister noted that “As the global community moves towards year 2020 end game for reaching the 90-90-90 targets, it has become imperative that Nigeria takes on more responsibilities in its HIV response particularly in her efforts to increase ownership, ensure sustainability of the HIV response, and consolidate the gains of all previous initiatives”.

He added that “as we implement the Roadmap, we are also actualizing the planned health sector response which is reflected in the Nigeria National Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS: 2017-2021 (NSF 2017-2021) and the Fast-Track or Catch-Up plan launched in 2016”.

The Roadmap has been developed by the government of Nigeria in collaboration with partners to chart a one-year path that will galvanize the country’s HIV treatment efforts towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets by 2020 with clear government leadership and ownership in treating increasing number of Nigerians Living with HIV.

Presently, Nigeria has the second highest burden of HIV/AIDs with an estimated 3.1 million people living with the disease. A population-based survey is currently being conducted to establish new HIV burden estimates and is expected to better direct the announced government interventions in 2019. Partners, including World Health Organization (WHO) congratulated Nigeria on the launch and urged for continued efforts at leveraging more domestic resources through Federal and State Government budgets as well as through the private sector fund being established.

The out-going WHO Country Representative, Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, indicated that this was his last official engagement and a special gift to his retirement. He bade farewell and tasked Nigeria not to relent until set goals are achieved. Dr Alemu committed WHO’s support for implementation of the roadmap. “I have seen the flexibility from the Minister and National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS for accepting the leadership of WHO”, he concluded.

Other partners present at the launch included PEPFAR, CDC, USAID, US-DoD, GF-CCM, UNICEF, UNAIDS and Civil Society Organizations. They all highlighted importance of a coordinated and streamlined response to HIV with the Federal and State Ministries of Health taking lead in the delivery of HIV treatment and PMTCT interventions.

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