We can’t celebrate HIV rating yet – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday unveiled the 2018 Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), saying less Nigerians were living with the HIV virus when compared to the 2014 survey.

Speaking at the unveiling of NAIIS, a national household-based survey on the prevalence of Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and related health indicators, at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, the president said, “we cannot celebrate yet, as almost a million Nigerians living with HIV are currently not on treatment.”

“We are already a step ahead in this regard, as the federal government has ensured that the HIV treatment programme in Taraba and Abia is properly funded this year and accommodation made to resource future expansions in the coming years,’’ he said.

He said availability of accurate and reliable HIV data for the country was crucial for planning effective health intervention to arrest the HIV epidemic and ultimately rid the country of this health threat. 

He said the federal government’s determination of ensuring sustainable solutions to the nation’s development challenges.

The president said the survey and its results had come at the right time as the government commenced the full implementation of the National Health Act that would ensure that every Nigerian has access to comprehensive healthcare services.

He said the survey was designed to provide the data needed to plan adequately and consolidate on the progress towards the elimination of HIV in Nigeria. 

He said the federal government was determined to progressively add 50,000 Nigerians on treatment of the virus every year using government resources.

“As we mark this important day in the nation’s HIV response, I will like to reiterate the commitment I made at the UN General Assembly in 2017 to progressively add 50,000 Nigerians on treatment every year using government resources.

“Now that we have data that will help us target for impact, I urge all us not to relent in this fight, but to increase the momentum in a concerted effort to end the epidemic ahead of 2030. I also welcome the move by the Nigerian private sector to establish a National HIV Trust Fund in the coming months to support our goal of ensuring that all Nigerians have access to high quality HIV treatment and prevention services,” he said. 

The president directed NACA and the Ministry of Health to undertake detailed consultations and consensus building with key sectoral ministries, the legislature, governors of high prevalence states, development partners and civil society organisations to chart a new strategic path, building on the results of this survey.

He expressed optimism that the end of AIDS “as a public health threat by 2030 is truly in sight for our country, stressing, “Let us therefore work collectively and push for the last mile.” 

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