By Sola Ogundipe
Nigeria has pledged a financial commitment of $12 million to the Global Fund towards tackling the menace of HIV/AIDS globally over the next three years. Nigeria also demonstrated a commitment to increase domestic resources for health and disease programmes.
The pledge which is a 20 percent increase over the last commitment is part of the total of $14.02 billion pledge by member countries at the Sixth Global Fund Replenishment Conference to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund), held in Lyon, France.
The Global Fund investment case projected that the fund will help to save 16 million lives by 2030 through health system strengthening, reinforcing health security via disease surveillance and tackling health inequities, including human rights and gender barriers.
Building on the concept of shared responsibility, Nigeria ensured through the ongoing budgetary process that President Buhari’s commitment at the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 to make government resources (approximately N3.5 billion) available to put an additional 50,000 Nigerians on life-saving antiretroviral therapy every year is realised.
Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, said: “With the incredible support of partners and donors around the world, we succeeded in reaching over US$ 14 billion to help save 16 million lives.”
In a reaction, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said: “Every Nigerian has a right to good health. We have a responsibility to ensure that this basic right is available to all Nigerians. The government is committed to enhancing the ownership and sustainability of the HIV/AIDS response.”
Also speaking, UNAIDS Executive Director, Gunilla Carlsson stated: “Nigeria bears a huge burden of the global TB, malaria and HIV epidemics so it is imperative that both domestic and international investments are urgently scaled up.
“The increase in Nigeria’s pledge to the Global Fund sends a strong signal that Nigeria is ready and committed to ending its TB, malaria and HIV epidemics.”
The Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, said: “The continued Government of Nigeria funding for growing the National Treatment and Prevention Programmes is vital for the sustainability of the AIDS response. I appeal to all Governors to equally commit to investing to end AIDS in Nigeria as a public health threat by 2030.”
On his own part, the National Coordinator of the Network for the People Living with HIV, Abdulkadir Ibrahim said: “Nigeria’s government should own up to the HIV and AIDS response. Putting money into the national response is an investment in humanity.
“Our continuous access to medication and our right to health care is a fundamental right. The government should make it happen,” Ibrahim noted. An unprecedented 23 implementing countries from Africa made pledges to the Global Fund.