The Nigerian government on Tuesday inaugurated a one year roadmap National HIV Treatment and Prevention of mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), to galvanise Nigeria’s HIV treatment efforts towards achieving the 90-90-90 targets.
The 90-90-90 is a target set by Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) to ensure that by 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV know their status.
The UNAIDS also targets that 90 per cent of all people diagnosed of HIV received sustained anti-retroviral therapy, 90 per cent of the people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
Inaugurating the programme, Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said the roadmap will enable government provide leadership and ownership of HIV response programme as well as focus more on increasing number HIV treatment cohorts.
Mr Adewole said the idea to announce the re-establishment of the programme was conceived in South Africa.
He explained that he conceived the idea during his interactions with other ministers of health from various countries during a side meeting of the USG – COP 2018 planning held in South Africa.
The minister recall that 18 years ago, Nigeria led the path for starting HIV treatment in Africa, adding that “ we stared with a modest figure of 10000 people under president Obasanjo.
“When the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR/Emergency Plan) came, we allowed the Nigerian treatment programme to disappear because the weight of the PEPFAR Dollars was so big, then Nigerian Naira treatment programme melted away,’’ he said
PEPFAR is a U. S. governmental initiative to address the global HIV and AIDS epidemic and help save the lives of those suffering from the disease, primarily in Africa.
According to Mr Adewole the only mechanism for improving domestic resource mobilisation for HIV response programmed is to create a platform that enable people ask for more Nigerian money into the programme.
He said there is a need “to bring everything under one umbrella; drive the agenda, and allow the partners to support us rather than the other way round where we support partners”.
Mr Adewole noted that the re-establishment of the National Treatment and PMTCT programme was definitely a retracing of steps to Nigeria’s previous path; noting the importance of a sustainable and well-coordinated national HIV response.