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World AIDS Day: Nigeria committed to global solidarity, shared responsibility to leaving no one behind – SGF

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The Federal Government is committed to global solidarity and shared responsibility to leaving no one behind in fight against the HIV scourge, the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said on Tuesday.

He said this at the commemoration of the 2020 World AIDS Day in Abuja with the theme “Global Solidarity and Shared Responsibility.”

The Day is annually celebrated on Dec. 1 to remember those that have died of HIV/AIDS globally and those at the front line fighting the epidemics.

Mustapha, who drew his speech from the global theme, reiterated the resolve of Nigeria not to allow anyone to die of HIV/AIDS.

He said that there was need for a new view on global health response, including the HIV/AIDS response.

The SGF added that President Muhammadu Buhari’s funding of the treatment of 50,000 people living with the virus was a clear testimony of the country’s commitment.

He added that “the approved budget for 2020 has adequate provision for HIV to cover this presidential commitment.

“The appropriation and release of a minimum of one per cent of consolidated revenue from the federation account to basic healthcare.”

Mustapha, who reassured Federal Government’s commitment to reducing the spread of HIV, said the fund had provided strong financial base for sustained funding of primary healthcare.

He commended the American government, Global Fund and other donors for their efforts in assisting Nigeria to fight HIV/AIDS.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said that the Federal Government had about 1,228,000 persons living HIV placed on treatment from June 2020.

Ehanire, who commended the leadership of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), said there was huge progress made in the prevention and care of HIV/AIDS.

He said that testing and community-led actions could improve quality health services, as well as access to Anti Retroviral (ARV) drugs for reduction of HIV spread.

Dr Aliyu Gambo, the Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said that HIV prevalence in the last 18 years reduced from the peak of 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 1.3 per cent in 2018.

The implication, according to him, is that 13 out of 1000 persons selected randomly in Nigeria are likely to be positive.

Aliyu said that 44,830 Nigerians were estimated to have died of HIV/AIDS in 2019, having spent 6.2 billion dollars to identify and treat at least 70 per cent of estimated 1,080,000 persons living with HIV and 1.2 billion dollars of it was from domestic sources.

The NACA boss, however, assured that self testing was not only the roadmap to achieving zero HIV in Nigeria but achievable.

Dr Erasmus Morah, the Country Director, UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), commended President Buhari for showing commitment in the fight against HIV,
with the treatment of the 50,000 people annually.

Morah restated the determination of UNAIDS to continue to support Nigeria in the fight against HIV, aimed at ensuring that the 95-95-95 target for 2030 was achieved.

Dr Murphy Akpu, the Deputy Director, President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), expressed the commitment of the U.S. to assist Nigeria to fight the scourge.

Akpu said that the American government had demonstrated commitment by placing one million persons under HIV treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), assured the Federal Government of the network’s determination to
synergise with other stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Ibrahim, who expressed optimism that ending AIDS in 2030 was possible, thanked the American government for supporting him and his colleagues through the provision of ARV to people living with the virus in the past 11 years.

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