By Fortune Abang
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, said on Monday that his country would remain committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis in Nigeria.
Mr Stuart made this known at the opening ceremony of a two-day Nigeria HIV/AIDS Intervention symposium held in Abuja.
The symposium with the theme “Partnering for sustainable HIV Epidemic Control in Nigeria” was organised by Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy.
He said that HIV/AIDS had remained a burning issue that gives cause for concern, therefore the need for commitment to ensure that people affected get cured.
“We have to address the issue to ensure people can be healthy and strong medically so that they can contribute their share to the cause of health care delivery.
“If the people of Nigeria must succeed and if they must contribute to the fight against HIV/AIDS, they need to hold all of us accountable.
“We as a people of the world are committed to making sure that people that are affected by the disease, one way or the other, are not left behind,” Stuart said.
Speaking, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, expressed the confidence that the outcome of the event would boost fight against the disease.
According to him, as a country it is important that Nigeria considers the management of HIV/AIDS holistically, given its prevalence.
“I am confident this forum will provide great opportunity to have robust discussion regarding country ownership and sustainability of HIV/AIDS programmes and investment in Nigeria.
“Today’s meeting is important as it will feature presentations by implementing partners on controlling HIV/AIDS,” Adewole said.
In a remark, Mr Mahesh Swaminathan, Country Director of the U.S. Public Health Service to Nigeria, said that much was had been achieved through partnership in fight against spread of HIV.
He said that for stakeholders in the health sector to be able to achieve desired goal in fights against spread of HIV, efforts should be redoubled to control the disease.
According to him, everyone involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS must redouble efforts to really get those who have not been tested to get tested.
Swaminathan said “we must ensure that people living with HIV/AIDS are engaged by trying to control the epidemic, to know what is working and what is not.
“We supported HIV treatments in Nigeria and provided funding opportunity for the past five years, which has ended and then we have a new one to start, for the next five years.”