Nigerian Government Pledges To Fast-Track HIV Eradication

Nigeria’s Ministry of health says it will start implementing strategies aimed at fast tracking HIV treatment and prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in January 2017.

The Minister of State for Health, Dr Osage Ehanire, during the commemoration of the 2016 World AIDS Day in Abuja a new committee will be set up in January 2017.

“At the beginning of the New Year, I will commission an ad-hoc committee to refine the terms of engagement with the private health sector especially the private laboratories,” he said.

He said the committee would be established with a view to enhancing proper accounting of private sector contribution of HIV testing in the country.

The minister added that the committee would “provide appropriate linkage of HIV positive individuals to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services, as well as empower and direct the National AIDS/STIs Control Programme (NASCP) to engage with PEPFAR and other critical stakeholders to work towards easy access to treatment.”

He explained that the strategies will be aimed at achieving high increase in the uptake of HIV testing services, increase in number of persons enrolled for treatment and significant improvement in quality of services.

According to him, the barriers and prevention services include the user fees, complex specimen transport arrangements for viral load and EID, in addition to making the health facilities user friendly.

The minister said “already, we are making the necessary consultations and provisions to ensure that we put aside adequate resources for the implementation of the fast-track strategies adding that the resources include “effective logistics systems for securing reliable stock of necessary commodities including Anti Retro-Viral Therapy, test kits and reagents. We are also making effort to boost the human resources for health at facilities, funding for necessary procurements and strategic planning, among others,’’ he said

Dr Sani Aliyu, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said the conference’s theme, “Hands-on for HIV Prevention” was very appropriate.

He added that it reflects one of our key priorities to fast-track progress towards ending AIDS in the country by 2030.

He added that in order to achieve the 2030 goal of HIV eradication, Nigeria must approach prevention as a continuum and adopt a ‘combination’ approach similar to what applies with Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART) .