The federal government has launched a roadmap for the implementation of a national treatment programme for HIV in the country.
The roadmap hopes to invigorate Nigeria’s HIV treatment efforts towards diagnosing 90 per cent of all HIV-positive persons, providing antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 per cent of those diagnosed, and achieving viral suppression for 90 per cent of those treated by 2020.
Speaking at the inauguration yesterday in Abuja, the minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said the National Treatment Programme has three main objectives, which include building an institutional structure at national and sub-national levels for effective coordination and implementation of HIV programme nationwide.
The other objectives he said include build capacity and strengthen health sector response and ownership of HIV programmes at all tiers of implementation and mobilise resources for programme implementation.
According to him, the programme is already up and running in 7+1 states which is termed the high burden states like Abia, Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Nasarawa, Lagos, Kaduna and FCT, adding that presently, almost all the 7+1 states are implementing fast tract Initiative which covers the TEST and TREAT strategy.
“In order for us to achieve the mandate of NTPP programme, additional 50,000 new patients must to be placed on treatment yearly.
In the past, the government and stakeholders had ensured that clients received free services through the provision of adequate antiretroviral drugs, drugs for opportunistic infections, test kits, diagnostic equipment, laboratory reagent and consumables in our facilities.
“We must press forward by harnessing private sector support and reaching all Nigerians living with HIV with appropriate services. This, I believe will aid the attainment of the desired goal of reducing new HIV infections to the barest minimum,” he said.
He, therefore, called on the private sector, corporate organisations, multinational organisations and independent bodies to invest in HIV management and contribute toward a sustainable healthcare delivery in the country.
Also speaking, UNICEF country representative, Mohammed Fall, noted that the world was watching Nigeria’s response to its high HIV burden. He said, “Nigeria can take up the challenge and show the world it can reduce its high burden of HIV as well as infant infection.”