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World AIDS Day: Nigeria 10% Away From 2020 Elimination Target

The federal government yesterday said the country is 10 per cent away from reaching the 2020 goal of eliminating new HIV/AIDS infections in the country, at which point the number of new infections would equal the number of those on treatment.

Leadership reports that the government said the help of local and international donor partners would be helpful in this regard.

Speaking at the national HIV prevention conference to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day, the director-general, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu, said his agency intends to work in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders, like National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) and state governments to enhance increased funding for HIV/AIDS intervention.

He disclosed that Nigeria has recorded a steady decline in HIV/AIDS prevalence from a peak of 5.8 per cent of the population in 2001 to three per cent in 2014 and that new HIV infections and HIV related deaths had been reduced by 20 per cent and 15 per cent respectively in the last few years.

He said, “We have a gap to meet and we will seek funding from our partners. We will also seek funding from the private sector. We will also engage with state governments, and a lot of the state governments are now buying into the state insurance scheme, and we will exploit whatever opportunity we can have to increase funding.”

Sani said the agency is working hard to bring about a new approach to mitigating mother-to-child transmission of the HIV/AIDS by providing an all-encompassing quality antenatal service to pregnant women.

“It’s not only about HIV; there are also issues like malaria, iron deficiency (Anaemia) and we hope to have a package that will include HIV that will encourage women to come in, be tested, and if they are positive, we’ll put them on medication. But we’ll also enrol them into a package that will enable them to access proper antenatal care.”

The NACA DG also called Nigerians to join in the fight against HIV/AIDS by donating generously towards providing drugs and treatments for infected persons, adding that the federal government was ready to be transparent and judicious in spending the resources.

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