President Buhari’s wife wants stronger measures to tackle AIDS

By Timothy Choji, Abuja

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Wife of the Nigerian President, Mrs Aisha Buhari(Middle) with other First Ladies at the China/Africa AIDS Prevention and Control Conference in Beijing.

Wife of the Nigerian President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari has called for the scale up of adolescent health information for successful AIDS control and prevention.

She made the call at the China/Africa AIDS Prevention and Control Conference, organised by the First Lady of the host nation, Professor Peng Liyuan on the Sideline of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.

Nigerian Example
Mrs Buhari gave the example of Nigeria, which has studied the adolescent and young people’s challenges and developed a National HIV strategy that targets the affected population with context specific interventions.

She however, lamented the high number of HIV patients in Nigeria and other African countries.

“It is undisputable fact that HIV continues to be a major global Public health issue and it is painful to note that adolescent and young people are among the high risk and vulnerable groups, who represent the future productive group of any society.

“I urge stakeholders to take extraordinary measures to mitigate the contextual drivers of this epidemic among this special group if the dream of ending AIDS by 2030 is to be achieved,” Mrs Buhari stated.

Joint Action
The wife of the President commended the idea of a joint action plan between relevant stake holders in China and Africa in the process of combating the menace of HIV/AIDS.

The Frist Ladies in a group photograph at the Conference.

The First Lady of the People’s Republic of China, Professor Peng Liyuan said the conference was another step forward in China-Africa relations, which create historic opportunities for health cooperation.

Professor Liyuan called on African countries to work with China in the fight against AIDS, deepen cooperation and continue to contribute to the health and well-being of their people.

She promised that from 2019, China would work with African countries and relevant international organisations on a 3-year program for adolescent preventive and community health programs to raise awareness and help countries move towards the Sustainable Development Goal of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Professor Liyuan commended African countries for their massive and effective campaigns which have seen a rise in the number of patients receiving Anti-Retroviral treatment, lowering death rates and declining number of children with HIV/AIDS.

“Many of you made tremendous effort to make this happen. I have nothing but admiration and respect for all of you,” Professor Liyuan told the first ladies.

The event was attended by first Ladies from 36 countries and the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Michel Sidibe.