Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), on Friday, reaffirmed its commitment to contributing to the Global Fund for the Management of HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Dr Araoye Segilola, the National Coordinator, National AIDS, STI’s, Hepatitis Control Programme (NASCP), FMoH, said this at a news conference organised by AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), an NGO in Abuja.
Segilola said that Nigeria as a nation had never abandoned its responsibility or commitment to citizens, neither had it failed from its responsibility among comity of nations.
He added that at the Global Fund’s 5th Replenishment conference which held in Canada in 2016 spanning three years (2016-2019), Nigeria made its commitment and fulfilled its pledge to the fund.
According to him, the Global Fund’s 6th Replenishment conference scheduled for Lyon, France, Nigeria will also be represented, adding that “we will make commitment as other nations and we will redeem our pledge.”
The coordinator explained that over the years, Nigeria had benefited from the Global Fund support in the area of HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
He added that “currently, Nigeria has a HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 1.4 per cent, equivalent to 1.9 million Nigerians living with the virus.”
Segilola stated that “1.1 million people out of the 1.9 million Nigerians living with the virus are on treatment with the support of Global Fund, President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other National and International Non-Governmental Agencies.”
He thanked AHF “for the immense contribution and collaboration with FMoH, and in reaching people in remote communities across Nigeria, testing them and placing them on treatment.”
Dr Echey Ijezie, the Country Programme Director, AHF Nigeria, said it was important to step up the fight against HIV and AIDS if the country must end the scourge by 2030, noting that “AHF, in partnership with Civil Society Organisations have embarked on `Fund the Fund’ campaign.”
Ijezie said that the 6th Replenishment conference would seek to raise at least 14 billion dollars to help save 16 million lives, avert 234 million infections and help the world to get back on track to ending diseases.
He added that African countries, including Nigeria cannot be left behind, while urging the larger donor countries such as Japan, Germany and France to increase their contribution to the Global Fund.
“We thank nations and we want to remind them that the faith of over 60 million people globally is in their hands, hence AHF and partners are calling for a step up in resources in the fight against HIV, TB and Malaria.
“We want to say a big thank you to those nations that have pledged to the Sixth Replenishment conference and to send a note of expectation to countries yet to fulfill their commitments.”
Dr Walter Ugwuocha, the Executive Secretary, Civil Society for HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN), said that the conference was important to the national response on HIV and AIDS as a country.
Ugwuocha said it was important that all countries increased their donations significantly to the Global Fund, noting that the pool over the years had helped to place over 32 million people on treatment globally.
He added that such funds had also help to fight early infant diagnosis and diseases, as well as optimised the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTC) programme in a number of countries.
“Commitment of nations to Global Fund would fast track our efforts to reach 800,000 persons yet to be on treatment and hopefully by 2025 and before 2030 we would be talking of epidemic control as a country.
“We also urge the Federal Government to double the effort beyond the Global Fund by contributing to the domestic resources.
“We call on state governments to be more committed by releasing resources budgeted for HIV and AIDS response in their various states,’’ he said.
Ogwuocha acknowledged and commended the efforts of AHF for the significant role it played in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Nigeria, adding that “every life matters.”