The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu has stated that very soon, the country’s HIV burden will be brought under control to at least 90 per cent.
Speaking during the unveiling of NACA’s Southwest Zonal Office in Lagos recently, he said he said the country has done remarkably well in stemming the tide of HIV in the last 15 years resulting in reduction of the prevalence of the disease.
“Now we are focusing on ensuring that HIV burden is 90 per cent under control in the country.
“We are establishing zonal offices in the six geo-political zones. This will take us closer to the people. The South-west zone being unveiled today will provide effective oversight of the agency’s activities in cluster of states within the zone for appropriate report to the head office in Abuja,” he said.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who was represented at the unveiling by the Commissioner for Health, Lagos State, Prof. Akin Abayomi, called for stronger collaboration among stakeholders to eradicate the HIV pandemic in the country, as well as end the unenviable record of having the second largest HIV epidemic in the world.
Sanwo-Olu said there was an urgent need for stakeholders to review strategies and deepen partnership in the area of advocacy and expanding access to care, treatment and support for those living with the epidemic.
He said: “Let us move forward in a bold new spirit of partnership to overcome the cycle of HIV transmission and deliver health and wellbeing for all.
“The recently released report of national and sub-national incidence rates which indicate a reduction in prevalence of the disease is a testament to the effort of all stakeholders.
“The progress made so far in ending this epidemic would not have been possible without dynamic advocacy, solidarity and a spirit of shared responsibility which must be maintained.”
He however noted that a lot of work needed to be done to ensure further significant reduction as Nigeria still has an unenviable record of having the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa.
While noting that the establishment of the NACA zonal office in Lagos will bring closer the services of NACA to the people particularly stakeholders and partners, Sanwo-Olu averred that the office will enhance NACA’s monitoring and coordination functions in the drive to reduce the prevalence of HIV.
“The decision to locate the South West Office of NACA in Lagos, I believe is in recognition of the commitment and dedication of our government in eradicating the virus through the activities of the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA). More importantly, this decision is consistent with the recent classification of Lagos State as one of the locations of interest in the fight against the menace of HIV/AIDS”, the governor said.
He noted that the office will further expand the frontier of the agency in the achievement of its mandates as well as provide functional knowledge of the disease to the people living with the virus and how to obtain support and care from the agency.
Sanwo-Olu averred that his administration is willing and ready to further deepen partnership with NACA to achieve the collective goal of eradicating the HIV pandemic through various actions in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the project 90:90:90. He noted that an HIV Consortium Group was recently inaugurated as a demonstration of the State government’s commitment and to bring on board all stakeholders towards achieving meaningful result.
He said the zonal office will be a rallying point for all stakeholders within the South-west zone to key into the national goal being driven by NACA.