THE Federal Government on Tuesday inaugurated a one year roadmap National HIV Treatment and Prevention of mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, to galvanise Nigeria’s HIV treatment efforts towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets.
The 90-90-90 is a targets set by Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) to ensure that by 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their HIV status.
The UNAIDS also targets that 90 per cent of all people diagnosed of HIV received sustained anti-retroviral therapy, 90 per cent of the people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Inaugurating the programme, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the roadmap will enable government to provide leadership and ownership of HIV response programme as well as focus more on increasing number HIV treatment cohorts.
Adewole said the idea to announce the re-establishment of the Programme was conceived in South Africa.
He explained that he conceived the idea during his interactions with other Ministers of Health from various countries during a side meeting of the USG – COP 2018 planning held in South Africa.
The minister recall that 18 years ago, Nigeria lead the path for starting HIV treatment in Africa, adding that “ we stared with a modest figure of 10000 people under president Obasanjo.
“When the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan) came, we allowed the Nigerian treatment programme to disappear because the weight of the PEPFAR Dollars was so big, then Nigerian Naira treatment programme melted away,’’ he said
NAN reports that PEPFAR is a U. S. governmental initiative to address the global HIV and AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa.
According to Adewole the only mechanism for improving domestic resource mobilisation for HIV response programmed is to create a platform that enable us ask for more Nigerian money into the programme.
He said there is a need to bring everything under one umbrella; drive the agenda, and allow the partners to support us rather than the other way round where we support partners.
Adowole noted that the re-establishment of the National Treatment and PMTCT programme was definitely a retracing of steps to Nigeria’s previous path; noting the importance of a sustainable and well-coordinated national HIV response.
He added that the re-establishment of the programme was an opportunity to celebrate the past, and re-dedicate ourselves to the future.
He said stakeholders meeting after the inauguration of the programme was to build a consensus around the roadmap towards achieving the set goals.
According to him, the programme essentially is running in Abia, Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Nasarawa, Lagos Kaduna states and FCT who had the highest burden of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria.
“Presently, all the states mentioned above were implementing fast track initiative which covers the test and treat strategy in order for us to achieve that mandate.
“We plan to concentrate and saturate those states and moves to other states; our target was to ensure that every Nigerian who is HIV positive is on treatment; I believe that this is doable,’’. Adewole said.
Adewole said the roadmap was in conformity with the strategic frame work on HIV and AIDS 2017 to 2021.
He added that the objective of the road map include building an institutional structure at national and sub-national level for effective coordination and implementation of HIV programmes nationwide.
Others are building capacity and strengthening of the health sector response and ownership of HIV response programmes at all tiers of implementation and mobilisation of resources for programme implementation.
The minister reiterates the commitment of the federal government to ensure the successful implementation of the programme.
He said as government implements the roadmap, it is also actualizing the planned health sector response which is reflected in the Nigeria National Strategic Framework on HIV and AIDS: 2017 to 2021 (NSF 2017 to 2021).
He added that government was also actualising the Fast-Track or Catch-Up plan launched in 2016.
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