Prof. John Idoko,
By Patrick Ugeh
The Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Prof. John Idoko, has disclosed that the agency aimed to produce a generation free of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
He said it hoped to achieve this by attaining a zero transmission of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) from mother to child.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference to announce the programme of activities for this year’s World AIDS Day, Idoko said: “In December 2011, on the World AIDS Day in Abuja, NACA, working with the First Lady’s NGO, Women for Health and Development Initiative-Integrated Health Programme, got the First Lady to launch the Accelerated PMTCT (Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission) for the country.”
He said it would be followed with zonal launches of the programme “in a bid to get to 90 per cent coverage of this programme and get to an ‘AIDS-free generation’ with zero transmission of HIV from mother to child.”
One of the high points of the events slated for the period between now and the 2012 World AIDS Day is a live appearance of representatives of NACA on the nationwide Radio Nigeria live phone-in programme, Radio Link on Saturday to explain topical issues on the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Idoko stated that there had been general improvement in statistics on the disease.
According to him, apart from a drop in HIV prevalence from 4.6 per cent in 2008 to 4.1 per cent in 2010, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS receiving anti-retroviral drugs increased from 230,000 in 2008 to 500,000 in 2011.
He added that the number of sites for providing the drugs rose from 296 to 491 within the same time frame.
The NACA boss put the growth of PMTCT at 32 per cent in 2012 from seven per cent in 2008 with PMTCT centres going up from 533 in 2008 to 800 this year.
He said with funding from Global Fund, NACA renovated over 524 primary health care centres in various states of the country, a number that will rise to 556 by year-end.