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Hope dims for Nigeria’s efforts to eliminate HIV, TB


Director General of the National Agency for the Control AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani H. Aliyu (left); Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Gida Mustapha; and Chairman, NACA Governing Board, H.E Dame Pauline Tallen, at the 4th National Council on AIDS Meeting held in Abuja.

The existing huge funding gap over 64 percent of the $336 million needed yearly to tackle Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria is threatening country’s target of eradicating tuberculosis by 2020.

According to National TB Strategic Plan 2015-2020, about $2 billion us needed to tackle tuberculosis in the country.

A breakdown of the amount indicates that about $336 million is needed yearly to tackle tuberculosis.

Speaking with journalists last week at a High level Roundtable on Sustainable Financing to End Tuberculosis in Nigeria, Health Financing Advisor for the United States Agency for International Development Health Finance and Governance project, Dr. Frances Ilika, noted that Nigeria was unable to meet the target for 2017, stressing that out of the $336 million needed, the Federal government provided nine percent, 27 percent was provided by donor agencies while 64 percent was unfunded.

Ilika observed that Nigeria has one of the highest TB burden in the World, ranking 7th on the global TB index and second in Africa. She stressed the need to include TB in the core interventions going on in the country as well as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

Also, the wife of the President of Nigeria, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, the new Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and the Promotion of Treatment for Children Living with HIV in Nigeria, has vowed to end mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.

Aisha Buhari, upon commencement of her new role, said: “It is with a great sense of responsibility and humility that I accept the honour to serve as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador. I am looking forward to using my voice to help ensure that no child is born with HIV in Nigeria by 2020.”

Nigeria has one of the highest rates of new HIV infections among children in the world. In 2016, an estimated 37,000 (22,000–56,000) children were newly infected with HIV and 24,000 (14,000–37,000) children died of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)-related illnesses.

Around 270,000 children (180,000–380 000) children were living with HIV in 2016, and just 32 per cent of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmitting the virus to their child.

Also, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), is advocating to states in the country to increase their HIV/AIDS media awareness campaign with emphasis on state owned media as vehicles to delivering HIV Prevention messages.

Chief Executive Officer Lagos State Agency for the Control of AIDS (LSACA), Dr. Oluwaseyi Temowo, who welcomed the advocacy team from NACA said many advocacy visits to the state in the last few years have yielded positive results in terms of funds appropriations and actual releases.

Temowo informed the advocacy team that LSACA is doing its best to ensure residents of Lagos are provided with information on HIV and anything that will help the Agency to increase the awareness efforts in the public space is welcomed.

Head of Public Relations and Protocol of NACA, Mrs. Toyin Aderibigbe, told the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Honourable Kehinde Bamigbetan, that the visit is to plead with the relevant authority to partner with LSACA to ensure consistent HIV prevention messages saturates the public space.

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