NACA boss raises alarm over shrinking funding for HIV/AIDS response
The Director General National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu, has said that the challenges of inadequate domestic funding, shrinking donor support, a weak health care supporting system and a poorly coordinated national response pose danger to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country.
Aliyu, therefore, urged governments at all levels to implement existing legislations and commitments on HIV/AIDS and also comply with the Abuja Declaration by allocating at least 15 per cent of their annual budgets to improve the health sector.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator of Network of People living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Victor Omoshehin has called for the establishment of a National AIDS Trust Fund that would take charge of domestic resources meant for HIV/AIDS response in the country.
Speaking at the opening of the 3rd National Council on AIDS in Abuja, Aliyu argued that for Nigeria to achieve the goal of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030, it must take ownership of the HIV/AIDS response and need not to wait rely completely on international donors.
He observed that Nigeria couldn’t afford to be left behind, as the rest of the world fast tracks efforts to end the HIV epidemic by 2030.
The director general observed that the current HIV funding in Nigeria is not sustainable, adding that international donors contribute 70 per cent of the funding for HIV response, while the federal government contribute 25 per cent and about 2.1 by the private sector.
Aliyu stated that Nigeria has the second highest number of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in the world, which stands at over three million, and the highest TB burden in Africa
He, however, disclosed that there has been a steady decline in HIV incidence over the last decade, with about 180,000 annual AIDS death.
He noted that the agency intends to have a robust approach over the next two years and stressed the need to reduce the amount of delivering HIV care, which stands at N130, 000 per day.
According to him, there is the need to benchmark certain percent of state budgets to AIDS, TB and Malaria, expand Basic Health Care Fund (BHCF) service package to include HTS & PMTCT (potential to reach three million pregnant Women annually) and include HIV/AIDS services in State Health Insurance Schemes (SHIS) the issue of stigma.