By Justina Auta
The Federal Government has unveiled the National HIV/AIDS Strategic plan for 2023-2027 (NSP 2023-2027) and the Sustainability and Country Ownership HIV Response in Nigeria.
Sen. George Akume, Secretary to the Government of the Federation stated this during the 2023 World AIDS Day (WAD) on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the documents show the government’s commitment towards ending the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic by 2030.
“ The key strategy for sustainability and country ownership of HIV launched today indicates a pivotal commitment towards ending AIDS by 2030 and beyond, with states providing leadership.
“I therefore encourage State governments to key into this agenda for ownership of sustainable HIV response in Nigeria.
“ It is my honour to unveil the national strategic framework 2023 to 2027 and the symbol of a new business model for sustainable HIV response in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Akume was represented by Chris Tarkar, his Chief of Staff on the occasion.
He said the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) collaborated with the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) to launch a N62 billion private sector-driven HIV/AIDS Trust Fund of Nigeria.
” We call on the organised private sector to deliver on its pledge to support Government efforts to achieve a HIV free generation where no baby is born with HIV in Nigeria.
He expressed appreciation to the United Nations, United States of America, Global Funds and communities for their support to HIV/AIDS responses in Nigeria.
Dr Gambo Aliyu, Director General, NACA, said the NSP 2023-2027 was developed through a participatory and consultative process to strengthen HIV response to facilitate ending AIDS by 2030.
Aliyu said the strategy involves equitable and equal access to HIV services for all and breakdown barriers to achieving HIV service outcome.
Others, according to him, fully resource and sustain efficient HIV responses and integrate them into relevant systems.
He highlighted the role of leadership of communities to ending social, cultural, legal and economic inequalities holding back progress to ending AIDS, and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
“ As the country continues to make progress towards achieving epidemic control necessary to end AIDS by 2030, we are also mindful of the fact that ending AIDS comes with a huge challenge of sustainability of the control.
“To overcome this challenge, the Government of Nigeria, United States Government, UNAIDS and the Global Fund initiated an alignment programme aimed at ensuring country ownership and sustainability of national response beyond 2030,’’.
Prof. Muhammed Pate, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, who noted the prevalence of paediatric HIV, urged communities to lead the drive of 2030 in Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
He was represented by Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, Director Public Health at the agency.
“It has not ended because we are still leading in the HIV Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) and pediatric HIV.
Melissa Jones, Mission Director, USAID said: “the US government has invested 7.8 billion dollars in Nigeria as our commitment.
“We have done that under the President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to show that all Nigerians living with HIV have complete access to quality HIV prevention, care and treatment services. ‘’
Dr Abdulikadir Ibrahim, National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) encouraged the government to take up ownership in HIV/AIDS interventions.
This he said will be achieved by relying less on donor partners, allocating more resources, and locally manufacturing Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to serve Nigerians and the West African region.
Ibrahim added that the network, with support from UNAIDS unveiled “iMonitor +’’ app to improve community engagement, access to treatment and fight stigma and discrimination against people living with the virus.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that WAD is annually marked on Dec. 1 to raise awareness about the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection.
The theme of the global celebration is “Let Communities Lead”, domesticated in Nigeria as “Communities’ Leadership to End AIDS by 2030.’’(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Joseph Edeh