By Toluwanimi Adeeko
The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on how to decisively win the war against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.
The team had earlier met with President Muhammadu Buhari to launch the new result of the survey undertaken by the group.
The minister acknowledged the results the effort of the organisation has yielded.
”On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, we’d like to express our profound gratitude to you and your organisation for the great cooperation extended to us to tackle this major health challenge,” Onyeama said.
On his part, the team head, Mr Sidibe, praised the effort of the president and the country in its fight against HIV/AIDS.
He said the survey conducted by the organisation shows that Nigeria has less people living with the disease.
“This is a transformative moment for the country, because the survey is the largest survey we have managed to have in the history of the response to HIV.
”This survey is good news, because it is showing clearly that we have less people infected with HIV, less cases of new infection and less death due to HIV.
“We want to use this momentum to reinforce, strengthen and enhance our relationship with Nigeria.
“We know with our new data, we can be more focused, we can really go to where the epidemic is and be more efficient in term of utilisation of resources and have a better return on what will be invested in this fight,” Sidibe said.
According to him, the Memorandum of Understanding signed is a cooperation agreement to have a direct relationship with UNAIDS.
”Up till the point of signing, the organisation has been working under the larger umbrella of the United Nations, but with this agreement, they will be operating directly with Nigeria,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNAIDS is the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS and a special team handling all HIV/AIDS related crisis.
NAN also reports that the programme unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations to combat, reduce and eventually eliminate HIV/AIDS. (NAN)