The stakeholders in the fight against HIV/AIDS has applauded the federal government to use domestic funds to provide antiretroviral drugs to additional 50,000 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) each year.
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), World Health Organisation (WHO) and Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) made the commendation in a statement issued to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja.
The statement was jointly issued by Mrs. Toyin Aderibigbe, Head of Communications, NACA, and Mr. Charles-Martin Jjuuko, Communications, and Global Outreach Officer, UNAIDS Nigeria.
The statement said Nigeria’s commitment was announced in a speech by President Muhammadu Buhari at the just concluded high-level side event during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
It said the side event was convened by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in collaboration with UNAIDS aimed to accelerate action and get countries on the Fast Track to end AIDS by 2030.
It quoted President Buhari saying that Nigeria recognizes the impact of the global financing environment and the need for shared responsibility to end AIDS in Nigeria by 2030.
Buhari, represented by Dr. Sani Aliyu, the Director-General of NACA, said: “We are committed to increasing domestic resourcing of the AIDS response.
“The Government of Nigeria is committed to maintaining the current 60,000 plus clients on life-saving medicines and an additional 50,000 new clients per year.”
The president announced that Nigeria has already put more than one million people living with HIV on treatment.
He said Nigeria was working with partners to conduct a national population-based HIV survey to gather new evidence to guide Nigeria’s HIV response programme.
According to him, a plan to establish a private-sector funded AIDS Trust Fund as well as securing of HIV funding commitments from the states was in the pipeline.
Buhari also expressed commitment to offering an enabling environment for the local manufacture of anti-retroviral drugs in the country.
On his part, Aliyu said that NACA was encouraged by the enthusiasm the government was showing towards putting more financial resources to the HIV response.
He added that it was one sure way of helping Nigeria to end AIDS by 2030.
Dr. Erasmus Morah, UNAIDS Country Director Nigeria, said that UNAIDS is thrilled by the new momentum and firm commitments that the Government of Nigeria is bringing to its HIV response.
“We are eager to support the process of putting more people living with HIV,’’ he said.
Source: ( Premium Times )