Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has stated that the federal government will do all within its powers to end Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic in Nigeria by 2030.
He said to achieve this, the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration will provide sustained political will at the highest level and increase funding for HIV response across all states of the federation.
Speaking at the 2018 World AIDS Day in Abuja yesterday, the vice president said, like other countries, the ambitious goal of ending AIDS epidemic by 2030 is achievable in Nigeria, adding that among the series of events to meet the target was the commencement of the National AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) in all 36 states of the federation which was flagged off by President Muhammadu Buhari in June this year.
“The survey aims at providing a reliable baseline against which we can monitor our performance as a country. I understand that the survey has made remarkable progress, and the results will be available by March 2019.
“We are closer to ending the AIDs epidemic. Having a HIV diagnosis today implies something very different from what we had 20years ago. Research has delivered improved medicines, technologies and approaches to service delivery and holds even greater promise for what will be obtained in the future. Today, with more access to treatment and care, people living with HIV can live healthier and more fulfilling lives.”
He added that there were over a million people on life- saving HIV treatment in the country, adding that “every year, about nine million adults are tested for HIV, with about two million being pregnant women; a clear affirmation of our goal to eliminate Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in the country.”
The Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Dr. Sani Aliyu, who spoke on the 2018 WAD theme: ‘Know Your Status,’ said the focus of this year’s commemoration was apt given that the gap in HIV diagnosis was a major stumbling block for the country’s HIV programme towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets..
The DG said: “I acknowledge especially the funding and technical support of the United States government and the Global Fund. Beyond the HIV burden, the NAIIS survey presently ongoing will provide reliable data on HIV incidence, viral suppression among people living with HIV who are on treatment, and the prevalence of hepatitis B and C.
“The results of this survey will improve our understanding of the Nigerian HIV epidemic and provide more accurate and reliable data for planning and decision making.”
He said one important priority for NACA was to facilitate the local manufacturing of HIV medicines and other relevant commodities as part of the long-term sustainability agenda for the national response.
“We have now commenced plans in partnership with the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) to develop a comprehensive framework that will leverage on existing government policies to catalyse production of medicines and commodities in country. The local production of high quality and affordable medicines represents the most effective means of ensuring sustainable access to essential medicines,” he added.