By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has formerly launched a new test kit for HIV, known as WONDFO HIV 1 and 2 Rapid Test Kit.
While presenting the laboratory performance evaluation for the new test kit at a ceremony in Abuja recently, the Director General of NACA, Gambo Aliyu described it as a major milestone which will boost the country’s effort at achieving the goal of testing 95 per cent of Nigerians that are HIV positive.
Aliyu, who was represented by the Assistant Director Community Prevention and Care, Mrs. Tolulope Oladele said the country has presently attained 73 per cent testing for HIV positive people.
“This is another effort by Nigeria in pushing towards achieving the target of 95-95 for HIV testing which is aimed at achieving 95 per cent testing of people who are HIV positive for them to know their status.
“So presently Nigeria has achieved 73 per cent for persons who are HIV positive to know their status. With the coming of WONDFO HIV 1 and 2 Rapid Test Kit, we are sure that we are one step closer to achieving that goal because we want a situation where there are different test kits for people to choose for testing their HIV status,” she said.
Oladele said the country had adopted a policy of undetectable is the same as untransmissible to guide its strategy.
According to her, the country is close to meeting the 20-20 target of achieving 90 per cent testing for HIV.
The officer in charge of the Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund in the country, Ibrahim Tajudeen, said that over time, the Global Fund has been supporting Nigeria in the area of response to Tuberculosis, HIV and Malaria including Resilience System Strengthening for Health (RSSH).
Ibrahim, who said that Nigeria has not been doing very well in HIV testing, mostly due to poor funding, added that there are plans to test over 3.5 million Nigerians.
He also stated that the fund was planning to spend $79 million on provision of test kits between 2021 and 2023.
He said: “Over the period, we have been able to mobilise close to $2.7 billion which has been used to support the response across the three diseases as well as RSSH.
“Coming to 2021 – 2023, Global Fund will be supporting the country also with additional $890 million and within the space of HIV/AIDS, we will be spending about $79 million, that is within the space of 2021 and 2023 just for testing of HIV/AIDS”.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of PREZZO SHED Investments Limited, Mr. Emmanuel Njoku, whose firm played key role in the evaluation of the test kit, said the tool is coming at an auspicious time when the federal government is concerned about the quality of effectiveness and efficiency in our healthcare delivery system.