The Wife of Nigerian President, Aisha Buhari, has accepted the appointment as new UNAIDS Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Promotion of Treatment for Children living with HIV in Nigeria.
Mr Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, made this known in a statement issued by the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) on Monday in Abuja.
It would be recalled that on March 17, UNAIDS appointed Buhari as UNAIDS Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Promotion of Treatment for Children living with HIV in Nigeria.
“I am privileged to announce Aisha Buhari’s acceptance of the appointment as UNAIDS Special Ambassador for Nigeria.
“The trust and respect that she commands in the country will help us to quicken the pace of stopping new HIV infections among children as well as ensuring treatment for all children living with HIV,” Sidibé said.
Sidibé, noted that the appointment of Ms Buhari will reinforce recent efforts of Nigerian government to scale up the response to HIV in the country.
The Director explained that during her one-year tenure, she would advocate for increased access to antenatal care services and HIV testing for all pregnant women and their linkage to adequate treatment and care.
She would also advocate for an increase in domestic resources for the HIV response at the federal and state levels.
The statement also quoted Mrs Buhari as saying that “It is with a great sense of responsibility and humility that I accept the honour to serve as a UNAIDS Special Ambassador.
“I am looking forward to using my voice to help ensure that no child is born with HIV in Nigeria by 2020,” she said.
Mrs Pauline Tallen, Board Chairperson, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said the agency was delighted that Buhari had accepted to serve as UNAIDS Special Ambassador.
She added that the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria was a laudable one, stressing that it must be achieved.
The statement said a formal ceremony to commemorate Ms Buhari’s acceptance of her appointment would take place in April during the visit of Mr Sidibé to Abuja.