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Communities across Nigeria have played significant role in the national response to HIV - NACA DG





- Nigeria will begin house-to-house HIV/AIDS screening in communities in the Federal Capital Territory

- House committee chairman on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malarial control says the screening will help many Nigerians know their HIV status and push for early treatment and prevention

- Also, the director-general said several communities and its members across Nigeria have played a significant role in the national response to HIV since its inception

The lawmaker representing Lafia/Obi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dahiru Sariki, has said that health workers in Nigeria will begin a house-to-house HIV/AIDS screening in communities in the Federal Capital Territory.

Sariki, who is the chairman of the house committee on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malarial control said the screening will help ensure that a good number of Nigerians ascertain their HIV status and push for early treatment and prevention.

Speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, November 20, at a press conference organised by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to commemorate the World AIDS Day, Sariki urged the agency to ensure that more Nigerians are captured in the screening process.

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This year's World AIDS Days is themed; "Communities Make the Difference”.

Continuing, Sariki said such move will ensure Nigeria achieves its plan to securing an HIV free nation.

In his reaction, the director-general of NACA, Gambo Aliyu, said the 2019 World AIDS Day will recognise the essential role communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.

Aliyu said these communities include networks of people living with or affected by HIV, women and young people, peer educators, counsellors, community health workers, door-to-door service providers, civil society organizations, religious and traditional leaders, policymakers and activists.

The director-general said several communities and its members across Nigeria have played a significant role in the national response to HIV since its inception.

He said while Nigeria accounts for more than half of new infections and deaths from AIDS-related illness, less than 40 per cent of Nigerian adolescent and young people have the appropriate knowledge and comprehensive knowledge about HIV.

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"We still have work to do. As Nigeria strives to achieve epidemic control in an environment where international funding for HIV is reducing and Nigeria's domestic funding for HIV is estimated to be below 30%, the efforts of communities is urgently needed to ensure that HIV remains on the political agenda and galvanize International and National funding for HIV," Aliyu said.

Health workers to begin House to House HIV screening

The director-general said several communities and its members across Nigeria have played a significant role in the national response to HIV since its inception.
Source: UGC

Noting the essence of communities in facilitating an enabling environment which promotes equal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for Nigerians, Aliyu said communities are crucial to holding decision-makers and implementers accountable.

Also addressing these issue of HIV prevalence in Nigeria, the national coordinator of the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim, warned that there is no cure for HIV as widely speculated across many quarters.

However, Ibrahim said an effective antiretroviral therapy can control the virus and help prevent onward transmission to other people if such, have achieved viral suppression.

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He urged that while Nigeria is working towards achieving the 90:90:90 treatment targets, it is important to always prioritise key and vulnerable population who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic.

"Our goal should be to situate human rights at the centre of intervention to achieve zero new infections, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero discrimination and leave no one behind as we work to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030," Ibrahim said.

He further called for a review of treatment policies and guidelines to align with WHO standards and global best practices; ensure prompt payment of government counter-part funding of the Global Fund support to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in Nigeria; fast-track the launching of AIDS Trust Fund as part of the sustainability plan for the AIDS response among many others.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Nigerian government at the sixth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) which took place in Lyon, France, pledged $12 million (N4.34 billion at N361 per dollar) to end epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other preventable and treatable disease across the globe.

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The federal government alongside leaders of countries around the world made commitments through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end these epidemics by 2030 HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are preventable and treatable diseases yet globally they kill more than 2.6 million people each year.

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