The Nigerian minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said Nigeria is now fourth with HIV/AIDS burden in the world.
He gave the good news at a media briefing after the announcement of results of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, NAIIS, in Abuja.
“Initially we were second after South Africa. Now, we are number four after South Africa, India and Mozambique in terms of the burden of the disease”, Adewole said.
He said the survey is the best Nigeria has ever done in respect to its scientific integrity noting that there was no government interference in the survey.
“We also had better quality in terms of the analysis, the control over the laboratories. I think this is a far better survey than we have ever done”,the minister said.
He stressed that there’s a lot of work to be done to make sure that all pregnant women are tested and placed on treatment.
“I think there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of marketing this survey to the states. Working with the Nigerian Governors Forum. The National Economic Council. Using this data to project the level of work to be done and asking for targeted funding. Now we know we are to work more with women, ante natal population, making sure that all pregnant women are tested, making sure we place them on anti retrovirals and ensuring that no baby is born positive.These are specific interventions that must be done and we want to assure you that this must be done”, the health minister stressed.
The Director General of the National Agency for the control of Aids, Dr. Sani Aliyu said that the survey was done with the purpose of giving the true HIV estimate for the country.
“Hand on heart, I can tell you that Nigeria can not get anything better than this survey now. This is not a blame game. Dont pick a state and say the state has a higher problem and this state has a lower problem. This is serious business. We are trying to get people to survive and leave well”, he said.
Dr Aliyu noted that the data is very powerful as it would assist in advocacy and getting state governments to act.
Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibe, commented Nigeria on the feat, saying that survey would assist UNAIDS in identifying and responding to issues as they arise in the states with high burden.