Written by Williams ABAH

U.S envoy drums support to end HIV/AIDs in Nigeria

In an efforts to curb the menace of HIV/AIDs, in Nigeria, a diplomat from the United States has appealed for concerted efforts from all Nigerians saying that the war against the disease cannot be fought by institutions alone. 

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, made the appeal at an awards ceremony in honour and recognition of “PEPFAR Nigeria Heroes, 16 individuals who have made contributions to PEPFAR’s mission since the inception of the life-saving programme. 

The programme held in Abuja, is the US government’s response to the global HIV/AIDs epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease. It was launched by U.S. President George Bush in 2003. 

The envoy said the prevalence of the disease poses a big threat.   He urged the Nigerian government to ensure that its citizens know their status for effective treatment options, noting that 1.6 million women have been tested 

Also speaking at the event, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi, said 1.6 million pregnant women have been tested for HIV in a bid to prevent the transfer of the virus from mothers to children. 

He also said more than 1.2 million orphans and vulnerable children received care and support. 

The permanent secretary who was represented at the event by the former Senior Special Assistant to the immediate past health minister, Araoye Segilola, said Nigeria remains committed to increasing domestic funding for HIV control. 

In his words, "based on the results of the recently concluded Nigeria HIV/AIDs indicator and impact survey, seven states with significant burden and high treatment gap have been identified to receive targeted treatment. The states are Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Enugu, Imo, Lagos and Rivers," 

He said the U.S. government has spent over $4 billion in national HIV/AIDs response in Nigeria in the last 15 years. 

Those honoured include late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, a former minister of health and head of National Agency Against Aids, NACA; Prof. John Idoko; Dr. Sani Aliyu; Mrs. Samuel, Grace Toni; Mr. Victor Olaore Omoshehin; Ms. Tobore Ovuorie; Dr. William Blattner; Ukam Reginald Assumpta.

Others are Dr. Patrick Olabiyi Matemilola; Mrs. Lucy Attah Enyia; Alban Anonyuo; MWO Musa Emmanuel (rtd); Major General Ogbonnaya Simon Njoku (rtd); Major General Tahir Umar (rtd); Major General Life Ajemba (rtd); and Brigadier General Nurudeen Ayoola Hussain (rtd).

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