Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu
By Adebiyi Adedapo
Figures have reflected that over 70,000 newly born babies in Nigeria were been infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission every year.
Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV//AIDS (UNAIDS), Mr. Mitchel Sidible, quoted this figure weekend at the lunch of a document on the Strategy Recommendation for Collaborating with a New Generation of Leaders for the AIDs response at Paiko, a community near Abuja.
He also said that over 3,000 young people were been infected with the disease worldwide on daily basis, “we have today 70,000 babies born every year with HIV in Nigeria and about 3,000 young people infected every day,” he said.
Explaining reasons behind the choice of the location, Sidible said that the HIV/AIDs scourge was not only the problem of the ignored but everyone including the neglected people living in the less developed environments, as he said fight against HIV/AIDs could only be won when it is viewed as a general problem.
Sidible however expressed optimism that the county would be the first African state to stop the mother to child transmission of the disease and have and HIV/AIDs free generation. “I hope and I said that a long time ago that Nigeria could be one of the first country in Africa to stop the transmission from mother to child, we have today 70,000 babies born every year with HIV in Nigeria, which is one of the highest number, but I am so sure that Nigeria can stop that and Nigeria can have a generation without HIV /Aids,” he said.
While presenting the Anti-stigmatization bill to the UN-Chief, a facilitator of the bill and Communication Officer of the Education as a Vaccine (EVA) Wemimo Adekoya stated that Nigerian youths and their counterparts across the globe were more concerned about stigmatisation and discrimination of People living with the disease, and has through various social networks suggested ways of moving against the stigmatisation.
“The anti-discrimination bill needs to be really passed, because people are now suffering more from stigma discrimination and exclusion than even the disease,” she said. The bill according to Adekoya has been circulated among youths in Nigerians who made their inputs before it would be presented to the National Assembly.