Nigeria Country Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC), Dr. Mary Boyd has said that about 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria have access to free treatments to save their lives.
Boyd made this known at the opening of a 2-day CDC Biannual Program Performance Review Meeting and Symposium yesterday in Abuja with the theme: “Working Together to Bring Nigeria Closer to HIV Epidemic Control”.
According to her: “Today 1.9 million people living with HIV have access to free treatments, and it’s treatment that is going to save their lives and allow them to live healthy, productive lives.
“The other thing that I was reflecting on, is Americans historically love the underdog, and we root for the underdog, we support the underdog in whatever way and we as the US government have been so proud to be part of the success that Nigeria has had.
“And along the way, we’ve had champions, and those champions are sitting here and also in the audience. So I want to just appreciate you all I want to welcome the CEOs of our implementing partners, I call them the superheroes”.
Also, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire in his keynote address appreciated the USCDC for the milestone achieved in tackling HIV in Nigeria
Ehanire who was represented by the National Coordinator of NASCA, Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu said Nigeria has enjoyed the goodwill and generosity of the United States government through PEPFAR, and has recorded remarkable progress with the reduction of the burden of HIV and contributing remarkably to the 1.9 million Nigerians who are life-saving antiretroviral treatment.
“And of course, these are the key elements of our response to name a few since 2018 which has made us move from a data-poor to a data-rich country as far as HIV is concerned.
“Nigeria has recommitted to work with its partners to drive actions towards the achievement of the 2025 global HIV targets and to keep Nigeria on track to ending AIDS by 2030”.
“I take this opportunity to also recognise the partnerships with CDC through which led us to pandemic preparedness and emergency response system and structures have been strengthened in building on the rapid and general support to emergency response to COVID-19”.
“I encourage the use of HIV response platforms and investments for continued strengthening of health systems and pandemic preparedness. As you know, in 2020, the government and its major treatment partners PEPFAR and the US government and the Global Fund embarked on a joint alignment to resources in support of the National HIV programme”.
“We have seen the gains of this new implementation architecture and look towards the second phase which has been christened alignment 2.0 as a means to strengthen coordination, leadership and governance of the response especially at sub national level, addressing commodity security, laboratory systems, data quality and availability and overall programming of some sorts in the spirit of strengthening the governance and leadership mechanisms of a response”. He stated.
In his goodwill message, the representative of the Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Alex Ogundipe maintained that Nigeria has come to a stable phase of the epidemic.
He said: “All that we’re asking as Nigeria, the Nigerian government, in terms of the way we think about resources is that it is time to normalise this. It is time to go back to the strategy efficient ways to do things and fill in the capacity gaps or system deficiencies.
“Let’s build it so that we can return what needs to be returned back to the society and let it grow efficiently and effectively.This for us is how we define what we mean by sustainability”. He said.