By Timothy Choji, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has unveiled the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, 2018,NAIIS.
At a ceremony at the Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, President Buhari urged Nigerians not to relent but to increase the momentum to end the HIV/AIDs epidemic ahead of the 2030 targeted date.
The call came now that the country has a reliable data on progress and critical gaps in ending the HIV epidemic.
He said: “The availability of accurate and reliable HIV data for the country is crucial for planning effective health interventions to arrest the HIV epidemic and ultimately rid the country of its threat to health.
“Now that we have date that will help us target for impact, I urge all of us not to relent in this fight but to increase the momentum in a concerted effort to end the epidemic ahead of 2030. I also welcome the move by the Nigerian private sector to establish a national HIV Trust Fund in the coming month to support our goal of ensuring that all Nigerian have access to high quality HIV treatment and prevention.”
The Nigerian leader noted that for over 20 years, Nigeria and its development partners have spent a lot of resources on the treatment of HIV without getting the desired results but the provision of NAIIS, more positive results are expected.
“Over the last two decades, the federal government and Development Partners have continued to expend significant resources in the fight against HIV with less than commiserate impact of the disease burden,
“Since my assumption of office, this administration has paid particular and deliberate attention to careful planning as a way of implementing effective policies on achieving sustainable change. The Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey is therefore in line with our government’s determination of ensuring sustainable solutions to our development challenges.
“The survey and its results have come at the right time as we commence the full implementation of the National Health Act that will ensure that every Nigerian has access to comprehensive health services. The Nigeria AIDs indicator and Impact Survey was designed to provide the data we need to plan adequately and consolidate on the progress towards the elimination of HIV in Nigeria” he said.
The President directed the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Ministry of Health to undertake detail consensus building with relevant stakeholders to chart a strategic path from the result of the survey.
President Buhari who expressed satisfaction that the current data indicated that few Nigerians were affected by HIV/AIDs, said it was premature to celebrate because about 1 million Nigerians living with the virus are not on treatment.
Director General of Nigeria AIDS Control Agency NACA, Dr Sani Aliyu said NAIIS was the Largest Single Specific Survey in the world and was achieved in a record time of nine months.
“The goal of the Nigerian HIV/AIDS indicator and Impact survey is to reveal the real burden and impact of HIV/AIDS in every state and LGA of the country. Knowing the actual and precise geographical burden will help the government and development partners to channel resources more efficiently and track progress made over specific periods of time,” he said.
Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole said the Survey was actualized as a result of partnership with key stakeholders.
In a good will message the Executive Director UNAIDS Michael Sidibe commended the political will demonstrated by Nigeria, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, who has personally attended functions related to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Ministers, Diplomats, Donor Agencies and Development Partners amongst others attended the event.
The 2018 National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey NAIIS was a national household-based survey that assessed the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus HIV and related health indicators.
NAIIS was led by the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, conducted with funding from the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and malaria, where the US spent over $70 million.
According to the records, the number of HIV infected people in Nigeria has dropped from three million to 1.9 million.