According to a report by the U.S Government, Nigeria’s HIV response is leading the world. The report makes us understand that Nigeria has the greatest yield in the last fiscal year – between September 2019 and October 2020, among the countries getting the support of the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) across the world.
Dr. Aliyu Gambo, Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), made this announcement yesterday at the agency’s presentation of stewardship on HIV response in the country in Abuja, among other issues.
He noted that Nigeria’s HIV response is the most COVID-19-resilient globally, In his words:
“According to the United States Government, among all PEPFAR-supported countries in the world, Nigeria has the greatest yield in the last fiscal year, between September 2019 and October 2020. This makes Nigeria the highest net new in PEPFAR history. “This is what is capturing the attention of the world. Despite COVID-19, Nigeria has rebounded and rebounded strongly, and Nigeria’s HIV response is now leading the world, and giving the world the confidence that Nigeria is on track to control this epidemic earlier than expected.
“COVID-19 struck when we were least expecting and when we were not ready. In March, April and May of 2020, Nigeria was down in terms of the numbers we were capturing and getting to place on treatment. But after May, we jumped. What happened in June, July, August in Nigeria has never happened in any part of the world.
“Nigeria rebounded very strongly. Because of that, Nigeria is being recognised among six countries – Jamaica, Rwanda, Mozambique, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and Botswana – that have survived the COVID-19 impact.
“Nigeria has set history in the sense that there is no country in the world in the 17 years of PEPFAR programming that has grown within the last 18 months and within the last one year like Nigeria. No country has ever added close to 300,000 people in one year. Nigeria has added, in the last 18 months, about 400,000 persons on treatment, and about 100,000 of the 400,000 are key affected populations. “In 2017, at the UN General Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari made a pledge to support the HIV response and increment on the number of people treated. This pledge was actualised last year. “Between 2007 and 2017, we have added on treatment about 625,000 people. But if you look at what was added in the last four years, between 2017 and 2020, we have added 684,770 persons living with HIV/AIDS on treatment.”
“This is as a result of the energy and political leadership we have found in this administration. This, added to the 838,020 in 2017, makes a total of 1,402,790 persons added in 2020.”
UNAIDS Country Director in Nigeria, Dr. Erasmus Morah, said:
“NACA represents the face of HIV response in Nigeria. It has been providing strategic national leadership and effective in decentralisation of ownership of the response at the state and local government levels. “As NACA turns 14, it should watch out for two things: complacency and sustainability of the response. “Nigeria, for the first time, is in sight of achieving 90-90-90 target. NACA must ensure that the vision for the HIV response is well understood and articulated. Opportunity that will remain after achieving 95-95-95 will be prevention.”
PHOTO CREDIT : The Indian Express