NMA President, Dr Osahon Enabulele
By Patrick Ugeh
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has directed its research committee as well as its HIV/AIDS committee to “deeply” study the research finding that produced the “functional” HIV/AIDS cure for a two-and-a half-year-old baby in Mississippi, USA, with a view to replicating same in Nigeria.
The President of NMA, Dr Osahon Enabulele, said in a statement Thursday in Abuja that such research should be in collaboration with relevant research institutions, universities and the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA).
According to Enabulele, while appreciating the need for replication of the research study, the NMA considers the case of the Mississippi baby a great fillip to on-going researches to generate a cure for HIV/AIDS.
“We therefore expect the enthusiasm of researchers in Africa and Nigeria in particular where there is still an immense burden of HIV/AIDS, to be fired up,” he said.
“We therefore call on governments at all levels, universities and research institutions and agencies, particularly NACA, to invest more in researches aimed at discovering a global cure for HIV/AIDS.
“While we urge further research studies in Nigeria and other African countries, what is immediately obvious is that the current finding by the United States research team potentially offers, in the least, tremendous hope to Infants/children afflicted with HIV/AIDS. “Expectedly, this will help reduce infant and child mortality and the global burden of HIV/AIDS.”
He added: “Truly, it will help accelerate progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly MDGs 4 and 6.
“The NMA also views the heartwarming finding by the team of researchers as one that once again underscores the need for adequate and appropriate testing/investigation of pregnant mothers, particularly the assessment of their retroviral status(es) to facilitate early detection and treatment of infected pregnant mothers as well as their new-born infants.”
Enabulele said this was especially important in resource-poor and developing countries with limited capacities for highly intensive and well funded researches into HIV/AIDS.
He however cautioned against complacency in the fight against the pandemic.
“Despite the enthusiasm that has been triggered by the latest findings, we urge that efforts at HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in Nigeria be stepped up, with more people living with HIV/AIDS enrolled in the anti-Retroviral drug treatment programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the NMA said.