NACA, states to enroll 500,000 on HIV treatment

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) said it would generate about N26 billion to fund HIV programmes and enroll another 500,000 people for treatment.

Dr. Sani Aliyu, Director-General, NACA, said the money would be generated through deduction of 0.5 to one per cent of the monthly federation allocation to states.

Aliyu disclosed thisn during a joint newsconference to commemorate the 2017 World AIDS day.

He said “if we are able to achieve the target, NACA together with PEPFAR and Global Fund, will reach almost two million people on treatment”.

He said the theme of the commemoration was `the right to health and making it happen’.

He added that to people living with HIV/AIDS, the rights to health amounted to access to anti-retro-viral and access to good care.

“We as government, are committed to finding resources to address the challenges we had in terms of funding.

“No fewer than 3.2 million Nigerians require HIV treatment at about N50,000 per person per annum,’’ he said.

Aliyu noted that it translated to about N150 billion, more than 60 per cent of 2017 federal ministry of health budget.

He said the approach to HIV/AIDS funding was not to increase the budgetary allocation to HIV but the need for overall increase of health budget.

He added that a Federal Ministry of Health budget could not devote 60 per cent of its allocation to a single disease condition.

“We have realised these and we are looking for various alternatives which include the introduction of universal health care, which entails putting one per cent consolidated revenue fund into health.

“We intend take it up and work with Federal Ministry of Health, to ensure that no Nigerian child is born with HIV,’’ he said.

Earlier, Dr Wondi Alemu, Country Director, WHO Nigeria, said “I am happy that there is a way forward an action to scale up access to treatment developed by the government and supported by partners”.

He said the challenge was for Nigeria to stick to the fast-track plan, in line with test-and-treat principles, to ensure that bulk of HIV cohorts were on treatment.

Similarly, Mr Walter Ugwuocha, Executive Secretary, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), said Nigeria was beginning to get things right towards ending HIV/AIDS.

He said some of the remarkable things the group wanted to see were the onward commitments of government towards ensuring that more people were put on treatment.

He added that the group wanted to ensure the implementation of the annual enrollment of 50,000 people living with HIV into treatment, as promised by President Buhari at the last UN General Assembly.

According to Ugwuocha, there are containers of commodities donated by the Global Fund at the sea port and are about to be incurring demurrage.

He appealed to the Minister of Finance to provide waiver for the containers for onward distribution into the country.

He reiterated the commitment of the group to hold everyone accountable, adding that “beyond the statements we are making here, we will hold everyone accountable to his commitments’’.

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