President Muhammadu Buhari has urged African leaders to work together towards eliminating the scourge of HIV/AIDS on the continent by the year 2030.
Mr Buhari spoke on Tuesday at a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level Meeting on HIV\AIDS, to review the progress on commitment to end the deadly disease by 2030 and provide recommendations to guide and monitor response in countries.
In a statement issued on Tuesday night by the President’s special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, Mr Buhari addressed the meeting in a video message, and called for a renewed global action “to decisively address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the African region and eliminate the disease by 2030.”
Mr Adesina said the President pledged Nigeria’s full commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and other international and regional initiatives towards eliminating HIV & AIDs in the world within the set goal.
The President was quoted to have said; ”We will continue to work with fellow Heads of State and Government across the continent to ensure sustained high-level political engagement in achieving these goals.
”I want to reiterate Nigerian Government’s full support for a clear and ambitious Common African Position & New Political Declaration that can help to reduce the public health threat of HIV/AIDS, strengthen resilience to end the disease, and in addressing current & future health emergencies.
”We further commit to urgently translating all new and agreed Political Declarations into country action as a means of decisively addressing the HIV epidemic in the African region.’’
Apprising the meeting of Nigeria’s response to control the disease, the President was also said to have expressed delight that the country ”has moved from a data-poor to a data-rich country with the results of the largest AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, conducted in 2018.”
He added that the result of the survey has enabled the country to set realistic targets and identify those who were not being reached with the necessary services.
The President added; ”This has further enabled Nigeria, through the support of the United States Government, Global Fund, Civil Society and other partners, to enrol almost 1.5 million Nigerians on life-saving HIV treatment.
”We have recorded tremendous growth in our treatment programme. Especially over the past 2 years.”
Mr Adesina also said the President told the meeting that Nigeria had made good its commitment at the High-Level Meeting Side Event at the 72nd Session of the UNGA in September 2017, to commence placing 50,000 Nigerians living with HIV on treatment annually, using national resources.
”Furthermore, I personally granted an exceptional waiver for the use of competitive international tender facilities to procure antiretroviral medicines at more than 30% cost efficiency, enabling more Nigerians to be placed on life-saving antiretroviral treatment within the same budget,” the President reportedly said.
According to the President’s adviser, the meeting was attended by heads of state and government, ministers and diplomats.