FG tasks states to support sustainable HIV response agenda

 FG tasks states to support sustainable HIV response agenda

By Hassan Zaggi

The President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government has called on the 36 states governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) tokey into the agenda for ownership for sustainable HIV response in Nigeria.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume, made the call while delivering a keynote address at the commemoration of the 2023 World AIDS Day in Abuja, on Friday.

This is even as the federal government has launched the key strategy for sustainability and country ownership of HIV.

The launched, Senator Akume, said, indicated a pivotal commitment towards ending AIDS by 2030 and beyond, with states providing leadership.

Represented by Mr. Chris Daka, the SGF said: “I, therefore, encourage states government to key into this agenda for ownership for sustainable HIV response in Nigeria.

“I equally acknowledge and appreciate the outstanding support and commitment of the United Nations, Government and people of United States of America, and the Global Funds for their unflinching support over the years to keep people living with HIV alive in Nigeria.”

He recalled that the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) recently launched a N62 billion private sector-driven HIV/AIDS Trust Fund of Nigeria which he described as “yet another unique achievement in the Sub-Saharan Africa.”

He, therefore, called on theorganized private sector to ensure private business community delivers on its pledge to support Government effort to achieve an HIV free generation where no baby is born with HIV in Nigeria.

 “We recognize the invaluable contributions of communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

“It is within these communities that we have found resilience, determination, and the will to make a difference. The strength of these communities has propelled us towards achieving the global goal of ending AIDS by 2030.”

 The SGF further assured that the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’ government of “Renewed Hope” is committed to sustaining the President’s initiative to treat more HIV patients annually using resources mobilized locally.

Speaking earlier, the Director General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, expressed optimism that with the support of community leaders, Nigeria can end AIDS before 2030.

He further noted that: “We can end stigma and discrimination, we can ensure no babies in our communities are born with HIV; Yes, we can. We did it with Ebola, we repeated with COVID-19 and we can do it with HIV because we are Nigerians.”

Dr. Aliyu noted that over the last four years, especially during the period of COVID-19 epidemic, Nigeria has demonstrated tremendous capacity for HIV case identification at community level.

Nigeria’s HIV response, he reiterated, was the most COVID-19 resilient globally.

As the country, the NACA Director General stressed,  “continues to make commendable progress towards achieving epidemic control necessary to end AIDS by 2030, we are also mindful of the fact that ending AIDS comes with huge challenge of sustainability of the control.

“To overcome this challenge, Government of Nigeria, United States Government, UNAIDS and the Global Fund initiated alignment programme aimed at ensuring country ownership and sustainability of national response beyond 2030.”

While applauding President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his support, Dr. Aliyu said: “Leadership communities of persons living with HIV, key affected populations, women, adolescent and young persons; policy makers, religious, traditional and political leaders, civil society organizations, development partners, organized private sector, the general public and our media society to mention a few, have critical roles to ending social, cultural, legal and economic inequalities holding back progress to ending AIDS and elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.”

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