President Muhammadu Buhari has called for renewed global action to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa and eradicate the disease by 2030.
Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, said in an Abuja statement on Wednesday that the president made the call at a United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS on Tuesday.
According to him, the purpose of the meeting was to review progress on the commitment to end the deadly disease by 2030 and to provide recommendations to guide and monitor response in countries. In a video message, the President addressed the meeting.
The president pledged Nigeria’s full support for the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other international and regional initiatives aimed at eradicating HIV and AIDS within the timeframe set.
“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.
“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.’
The president praised Nigeria’s response to the disease, saying 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 survey’s findings have allowed Nigeria to set realistic goals and identify those who are not receiving the necessary services.
“As a result of this, Nigeria has been able to enroll nearly 1.5 million Nigerians on life-saving HIV treatment, thanks to the support of the US government, the Global Fund, civil society, and other partners.
“We have recorded tremendous growth in our treatment programme, especially over the past two years,’’ he added.
The Nigerian leader told the meeting that Nigeria had followed through on its promise made at a High-Level Meeting held as a side event at the UNGA’s 72nd Session in September 2017 to start treating 50,000 Nigerians living with HIV annually with national resources.
“Furthermore, I personally granted an exceptional waiver for the use of competitive international tender facilities to procure antiretroviral medicines at more than 30 percent cost efficiency, enabling more Nigerians to be placed on life-saving antiretroviral treatment within the same budget,’’ he said.