World AIDS Day: FG Unveils National Prevention Plan,To Accommodate Additional 50,000 People On HIV/AIDS Treatment
The Federal Government says it will facilitate the integration of vulnerable members of the people living with HIV into its poverty alleviation and social intervention programmes.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo stated this in Abuja, at an event to commemorate this year’s World AIDs Day.
The World AIDS Day, is celebrated on December 1st every year since 1988.the day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
Professor Yemi Osibanjo who was represented by the secretary to the State Government, Boss Mustapha said government is committed to increase funding for the HIV response and ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services.
“In line with our commitment to support people living with HOV to ‘live life positively’, we will facilitate the integration of vulnerable members of the HIV community into our poverty alleviation and social intervention programmes.” “We will also facilitate the integration of vulnerable members of the HIV community into our poverty alleviation and social intervention programmes,“he said.
“We are committed to ending the epidemic by 2030 and it is in this regard that we will be increasing 2019 budget on HIV treatment to accommodate additional 50,000 people on treatment.
“To this end, Government has for the first time ensured that the funds required to keep all those living with HIV on our treatment programme in Taraba and Abuja States is fully accommodated in the 2019 budget. Moving forward, we have committed to support an additional 50,000 persons commencing HIV treatment every year in our budgets”
The Minister Of Health,Professor Isaac Adewole who observed that only 38 percent of Nigerians know their status, assured of government’s continuous efforts to remove identified barriers to HIV testing.
Professor Adewole gave the assurance that government would ensure adequate funding of the anti-retroviral treatment, remove user-fees, which was a major barrier to positive persons accessing treatment
The Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu, said government is prioritizing local manufacturing of HIV medicines and other relevant commodities in partnership with other relevant agencies .
“The local production of high quality and affordable medicines represents the most effective means of ensuring sustainable access to essential medicines. It also contributes to the achievement of other equally important National Socioeconomic objectives, such as job creation, attraction of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and facilitation of knowledge transfer. This integrated approach is in line with Government’s overarching strategy for the improvement of the health and wellbeing of citizens.”
According to Dr Aliyu “On other efforts by the agency to another important priority for NACA is to facilitate the local manufacturing of HIV medicines and other relevant commodities as part of the long-term sustainability agenda for the national response. ”
“We have now commenced plans in partnership with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) to develop a comprehensive framework that will leverage on existing Government’s policies to catalyse production of medicines and commodities in country.”
He said government had concluded arrangement to launch a National HIV Trust Fund towards addressing the HIV funding gap.
“We have been working on strengthening our engagement with the Private Sector in Nigeria through the Nigeria Business Coalition against AIDS (NIBUCAA) in a bid to increase domestic funding for HIV towards a more sustainable response.
“The HIV Trust Fund, which will soon be launched, will provide the platform for more concrete contributions from the private sector. It is our hope that resources that come through this window will help to close the gap in access to antiretroviral therapy for people living with HIV,” he said.
In a message, the US ambassador to Nigeria,, Stuart Symington said the US government in partnership with the government of Nigeria, had prevented millions of Nigeria from being infected by and dying from HIV.
Also speaking the Chairperson of NACA Governing Board , Mrs Pauline Tallen, pledged commitment of the boards towards complementing the efforts of the NACA through advocacy for the creation of greater fiscal space for HIV especially at state level where the needs are greater.
On its part, the National Secretary, Network of People Living With HIV\AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) Abdulkadir Ibrahim called on the federal government to consider approving a budget line for the network.
..“I would like to also call on the government to look at the possibility of approving a budget line for care and support NEPWAN through NACA to enable us address and manage the challenges of coping with HIV disease.”
“Majority of our members are very poor, living in abject poverty and often find it difficult to even transport to facilities to access the free life saving ARVs especially the pregnant women attending PMTCT services,”he added.