By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Federal Government has launched a roadmap for the implementation of a national treatment programme for HIV across the country.
The roadmap inaugurated on Tuesday in Abuja seeks to galvanize Nigeria’s HIV treatment efforts towards diagnosing 90% of all HIV-positive persons, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90% of those diagnosed, and achieving viral suppression for 90% of those treated by the year 2020.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said it was imperative that Nigeria took on more responsibilities in its HIV response going by the high burden of the disease in the country.
According to him, “The National Treatment Programme has three main objectives. They are to: build an institutional structure at national and sub-national levels for effective coordination and implementation of HIV programme nationwide; build capacity and strengthen health sector response and ownership of HIV programmes at all tiers of implementation and mobilize resources for programme implementation.
”The programme is already up and running in 7+1 states which is termed the high burden states. The States are Abia, Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Nasarawa, Lagos, Kaduna and FCT. Presently almost all the states mentioned above are implementing fast tract Initiative which covers the TEST and TREAT strategy.
“In order for us to achieve the mandate of NTPP programme, additional 50,000 new patients must to be placed on treatment yearly
“In the past, the government and stakeholders had ensured that clients received free services through the provision of adequate antiretroviral drugs, drugs for opportunistic infections, test kits, diagnostic equipment, laboratory reagent and consumables in our facilities.
“We must press forward by harnessing private sector support and reaching all Nigerians living with HIV with appropriate services. This, I believe will aid the attainment of the desired goal of reducing new HIV infections to the barest minimum.
“I want to call on the private sector, corporate organizations, multinational organizations and independent bodies to invest in HIV management and contribute toward a sustainable healthcare delivery in the country.”
Speaking also, UNICEF country representatives, Mohammed Fall, noted that the world was watching Nigeria’s response to its high burden of HIV, because of the belief that the problem of HIV in sub-Sahara Africa cannot be solved exclusive of Nigeria.
“Nigeria can take up the challenge and show the world it can reduce it high burden of HIV as well as infant infection,” Fall said.