Health

June 16, 2024

‘160,000 kids living with HIV in Nigeria’

HIV cure

By Luminous Jannamike

The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) has urged the government and relevant stakeholders to intensify efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS among children in the country.

According to the CCN, Nigeria has an estimated 160,000 children living with HIV, with only 45,000 receiving treatment.

The council made the call at the close-out ceremony of the HIV intervention program implemented in collaboration with the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Abuja over the weekend.

The CCN President, Most Rev. David Onuoha, who was represented by Archbishop Peter ogunmuyiwa, decried the high number of children living with HIV in Nigeria, stressing the need for urgent action to address the situation.

He said, “Our mission is to identify with the needy and less privileged, and to make a positive impact on their lives.

“Our efforts have been enriching and impactful. We are committed to combating the HIV epidemic in our society, and we urge all relevant NGOs and government agencies to join us in this crusade.

“While we have made some progress in preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child, we still have much work to do. According to statistics, Nigeria has a high number of children who are HIV victims – 160,000, with only 45,000 undergoing treatment. This is unacceptable, and we must do more to address this issue.”

The WCC representative, Ms Gracias Ross, reiterated the organization’s commitment to supporting Nigeria in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

She stated, “160,000 children are living with HIV, but remember that two million people are living with HIV in Nigeria. They will have partners and children. In what condition will these children be born?

“We must change things. If these children are alone and don’t have a family, the church has to be their family. This is the calling that we should become the father of the fatherless and fight for the widows and fight for justice.

“You can imagine how many young people don’t have any positive orientation on sexuality. So the Church should be bringing light to these large numbers of young people in Nigeria who are not having information.”

Rev. Dr. Evans Onyemara, the General Secretary of the CCN, appreciated the WCC’s support in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, highlighting the success stories from the programme’s implementation in several states.

Onyemara also acknowledged the contributions of partners and stakeholders, including the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN).

He said, “When I resumed as the General Secretary of the Council, the HIV Programme was one of the projects that I inherited, organized by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative and Advocacy (WCC-EHAIA) and implemented through the West African Regional Office in Lome Togo.

“We appreciate the support of our partners and acknowledge their contributions. We look forward to continuing our work together and celebrating our successes in the future.”

The event featured goodwill messages from stakeholders, emphasizing the need for sustained collaboration to eradicate the disease.