By Talatu Maiwada
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) on Monday said 95 per cent of HIV and AIDS funding in Nigeria was largely provided by international donor agencies.
Dr Sani Aliyu, the Director General, NACA, made the fact known at the public screening of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s “Keep the Promise’’ to AIDS Video Campaign, organised by AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF).
Aliyu said that 95 per cent HIV and AIDS funding for about 1.1 million Nigerians on treatment came from the U.S. Government and Global Fund.
He said that the Federal Government was not pleased with such development and was committed to changing the figures and taking ownership of the HIV and AIDS response in Nigeria.
“We have to invest in HIV treatment; we are having more and more people in the world coming into treatment.
“Access to treatment is no longer a major issue globally and it should be in Nigeria.
“We have an opportunity with the HIV survey which is on-going to clearly define the burden of HIV in the country, and by early next year we will have a reliable estimate.
“This will give us an opportunity to step forward and take over our responsibility because access to treatment is a right so that people living with the virus can live a normal life,’’ he said.
Mr Suleiman Tola, Head, Health and Gender Desk, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), called for robust collaboration by stakeholders to support individuals and organisations who claimed to have cure for HIV through research and investigation.
He also tasked media organisations to have an in-depth understanding of the problem both economically and socially as well as its impact on individuals and the society.
He said a healthy nation is a wealthy nation hence the need for the Federal Government to prioritise HIV funding in the country.
Tola, further urged government at all levels to implement the Patient Bill of Right and promote issues affecting HIV and AIDS response in their various states and communities.