Nigeria has a long way to go in HIV fight, says minister
Launches new guideline to tackle scourge
With an over three million burden figure, Nigeria still has a lot to do in containing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), says the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
At the launch of a new national guideline for the prevention and treatment of the scourge yesterday in Abuja, the minister said the initiative was aimed at ensuring early diagnosis and tackling of the infection.
Under the new regime, government is to embrace fresh models that are tune in with global standards. He noted that with the unveiling, the current administration expects a continued decline in the number of people infected with the virus, increased access to treatment and reduced mother-to-child transmission in order to keep pace with global trend, as existing guidelines and protocols had proven insufficient.
Ehanire observed that rule was a milestone in reducing the burden of the virus nationwide and catalysing the attainment of the UNAIDS 90:90 target by the year 2020.
Ehanire argued that the national response was not a failure, adding: “Nothing is happening around us to suggest that the nation’s HIV programme is a failure. I remain unconvinced that 860,000 patients on ART in 1000 comprehensive treatment centres translate to a failure and it is difficult to discountenance the unprecedented decline in morbidity and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS. I accept that things can be done better but even at that, we have achieved tremendous success in our battle against HIV.”
The Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria, Dr. Patrick Dakum, advocated that people living with the virus should be placed on treatment very early, as this would help reduce the mortality rate.
He enthused that the launch of the guideline was the beginning of a new phase in the administration and treatment of the scourge nationwide, calling for strict implementation of the instruction.