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UNICEF, NACA decry high rate of HIV, TB infections among Nigerian children

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
17 November 2021   |   4:07 am
Chief of Health, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Eduardo Celades, has voiced concern over high incidence of new paediatric HIV infections in Nigeria, saying the country leads the world with 21,000 case...

Chief of Health, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Eduardo Celades, has voiced concern over high incidence of new paediatric HIV infections in Nigeria, saying the country leads the world with 21,000 cases, representing 14 per cent of all new infections among children.

He noted also that one in every seven children born HIV positive globally is in Nigeria. He disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, at a country-level consultation to increase access and intensify commitment to scaling up diagnosis and treatment of paediatric HIV and TB in Nigeria.

He said: “Nigeria has the highest TB deaths among children not on treatment after India. It has made significant strides in its battle against HIV/AIDS. Currently, 1.49 million of the 1.7 million people living with HIV are on drugs and 72 per cent of these individuals are virally suppressed. Sadly, the picture for children living with HIV in Nigeria is very different.

“As at 2020, only 36 per cent of the 150,000 children living with HIV in Nigeria had access to life-saving anti-retroviral therapy. In the last two years, with the development of the National Acceleration Plan for paediatric and adolescent HIV Treatment and Care (2020-2022), some gains have been made in the management of children and adolescents living with HIV but much more needs to be done.”

Also speaking, Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA). Dr. Aliyu Gumel Gambo, disclosed that Nigeria has one of the highest burdens of TB, with an incidence of 216 per 100,000 population, while HIV positive TB incidence is 17 per 100,000, with a mortality rate of 13 per 100,000.

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