National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has said it would unveil a private sector led N62.1 billion ($150 million) HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria (HTFN).
A statement from the agency yesterday, revealed that the initiative would be driven by the Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA).
It described the HTFN as a sustainable financing mechanism for the mobilisation and deployment of domestic private sector resources to address the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Nigeria.
According to NACA), Nigeria has the highest number of HIV new infections among children globally.
The NACA added: “Today, one out of every seven children born with HIV in the world is born in Nigeria. In the absence of intervention, the rate of transmission of HIV from a mother living with HIV to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding ranges from 15 per cent to 45 per cent. With the right treatment however, this risk reduces to less than one per cent,” it added.
NACA further explained that the HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria would improve efforts to ensure coverage of high-IMPACT HIV interventions that would provide the requisite treatment for mothers that had tested positive to the virus, while contributing to closing the funding gap for HIV in Nigeria that currently stands at about $108 million per annum.
The statement quoted Trust Fund’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jekwu Ozoemene, a seasoned banker, administrator, and finance expert to have expressed believe that by deploying private sector competencies and capital market tools, “the HTFN is key to helping Nigeria achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 strategy of Ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030; achieving 95 per cent diagnosed among all people living with HIV (PLHIV), 95% on antiretroviral therapy (ART) among diagnosed, and 95% virally suppressed (VS) among treated.”
He added that the Trust Fund’s investment would improve maternal health and reduce child mortality (especially in the rural and peri-urban communities) in Nigeria through programs focused on awareness creation on PMTCT, HIV prevention education for women who are in reproductive age, and the provision of testing services and anti-retrovirals for HIV positive pregnant and infected babies.
The Fund is currently Chaired by Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. Other Board of Trustee members include: Mr. Mike Sangster, the Managing Director of TotalEnergies Exploration and Production Nigeria; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Board of Trustees of Dangote Foundation and President of the Dangote Group; Engr. Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria and the Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria; Dr. Lars Richter, Managing Director/CEO Julius Berger Nigeria Plc; Dr. Gambo Aliyu, Director General of NACA; and Dr. Sani Aliyu, immediate past Director-General of NACA.