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World AIDS Day: FG urges Houses of Assembly to pass anti-discrimination bill

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
02 December 2022   |   3:24 am
Federal Government has urged all state Houses of Assembly yet to pass the anti-discrimination bill for HIV to do so speedily, even as it appealed to governors to abolish payment of user fees that limit access of pregnant women to antenatal services.

Boss Mustapha

Federal Government has urged all state Houses of Assembly yet to pass the anti-discrimination bill for HIV to do so speedily, even as it appealed to governors to abolish payment of user fees that limit access of pregnant women to antenatal services.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, made the call at an event to mark 2022 World AIDS Day in Abuja, yesterday.
He said ensuring equal access to prevention and treatment services require innovative approaches, and one of such at the level of state governments is acceleration of health insurance coverage for informal and formal sectors, with a view to promoting inclusivity of marginalised groups, pregnant women, children and key populations.

Stressing that Nigeria is focused on ending AIDS by 2030, Mustapha called on state governments to fund and support programmes that address structural barriers, including ensuring education of the girl child and funding ministries, departments and agencies at the forefront of providing access to such services.

He said: “The world continues to witness inequalities in every sphere of human endeavour. In our fight to end AIDS, as a nation, it has become necessary for every facet of society to play its role at community level, including private sector involvement, even as government at all levels continues to take the lead.

“I am aware that the global theme is ‘Equalize’. Nigeria, as a country, has further domesticated the theme as ‘Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention services’. This year’s World AIDS Day seeks to promote equal access across populations that are marginalised among vulnerable and key affected population groups by removing economic, social, gender, cultural and legal barriers to HIV prevention services.”

In his speech, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, noted that Nigeria has made landmark achievements in HIV response in the past few years, and is close to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS target of 95-95-95.