From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has at a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) high-level meeting on HIV\AIDS, on Tuesday called for a renewed global action to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and eliminate the disease by 2030.
This is even as Buhari pledged Nigeria’s full commitment to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and other international and regional initiatives toward eliminating HIV/AIDs in the world within the set goal.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said the meeting was called to review the progress on the commitment to end the deadly disease by 2030 and provide recommendations to guide and monitor response in countries.
“We will continue to work with fellow Heads of State and Government across the continent to ensure sustained high-level political engagement in achieving these goals,” Buhari was quoted to have said.
“I want to reiterate Nigerian Government’s full support for a clear and ambitious Common African Position and New Political Declaration that can help to reduce the public health threat of HIV/AIDS, strengthen resilience to end the disease and address current and future health emergencies.
“We further commit to urgently translating all new and agreed Political Declarations into country action as a means of decisively addressing the HIV epidemic in the African region.’’
Speaking on Nigeria’s response to control the disease, President Buhari expressed happiness that the country “has moved from a data poor to a data rich country with the results of the largest AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, conducted in 2018”.
According to him, the result of this survey has enabled Nigeria to set realistic targets and identify those that are not being reached with the necessary services.
“This has further enabled Nigeria through the support of the United States Government, Global Fund, Civil Society and other partners, to enroll almost 1.5 million Nigerians on life-saving HIV treatment,” Buhari said.
“We have recorded tremendous growth in our treatment programme, especially over the past two years.”
Buhari said Nigeria has implemented its commitment to begin placing 50,000 Nigerians living with HIV on treatment annually, using national resources.
“Furthermore, I personally granted an exceptional waiver for the use of competitive international tender facilities to procure anti-retroviral medicines at more than 30 per cent cost efficiency, enabling more Nigerians to be placed on life-saving anti-retroviral treatment within the same budget,” he said.