Private sector set to launch N62.1b HIV trust fund in Nigeria

In bid to achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 strategy of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the private sector is set to launch N62.1 billion (US$150 million) HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria (HTFN).

 This was recommended by Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and driven by the Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA).

This was made known in a press statement released by the Agency on Thursday in Abuja.

It said, the HTFN is a sustainable financing mechanism for the mobilization and deployment of domestic private sector resources to address the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in Nigeria.

The Trust Fund’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Jekwu Ozoemene, said that by deploying private sector competencies and capital market tools, the HTFN is key to helping Nigeria achieve the UNAIDS 95-95-95 strategy of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030; achieving 95% diagnosed among all people living with HIV (PLHIV), 95% on antiretroviral therapy (ART) among diagnosed, and 95% virally suppressed (VS) among treated.

Ozoemene stated that the Trust Fund’s investment will improve maternal health and reduce child mortality (especially in the rural and peri-urban communities) in Nigeria through programs focused on awareness creation on PMTCT, HIV prevention education for women who are in their reproductive age, and the provision of testing services and antiretrovirals for HIV positive pregnant and infected babies.

According to the NACA, Nigeria has the highest number of HIV new infections among children globally.

“Today, 1 out of every 7 children born with HIV in the world is born in Nigeria. In the absence of intervention, the rate of transmission of HIV from a mother living with HIV to her child during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding ranges from 15% to 45%. With the right treatment however, this risk reduces to less than 1%.

“The HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria will improve efforts to ensure coverage of high-IMPACT HIV interventions that will provide the requisite treatment for HIV positive mothers, while contributing to closing the funding gap for HIV in Nigeria that currently stands at about U$108 Million per annum.”

The Fund is currently chaired by Dr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc. Other Board of Trustee members include the Managing Director of Total Energies Exploration and Production Nigeria Mr. Mike Sangster, Chairman, Board of Trustees of Dangote Foundation and President of the Dangote Group Alhaji Aliko Dangote among others.