By Andy Chukwu
Nigeria has pledged $12m to a global campaign to tackle AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria around the world.
Toyin Aderibigbe, Head, Public Relations and Protocol Division, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), in a statement on Monday, said the country made the pledge at the recent Sixth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Lyon, France.
“An unprecedented 23 implementing countries from Africa made pledges to the Global Fund,” the statement said.
“Nigeria demonstrated its support and solidarity with the international community by making a financial pledge of $12m (a 20 per cent increase) to the Global Fund, while expressing its commitment to increasing domestic resources for health and disease programmes.”
NACA stated that HIV, tuberculosis and malaria are preventable and treatable diseases, yet they kill more than 2.6 million people across the world every year.
The agency noted that the world had committed, through the Sustainable Development Goals, to end the epidemics by 2030.
It said a total of $14.02bn was pledged for the next three years, adding that the Global Fund investment case had projected that the fund would help save 16 million lives by 2030 through health system strengthening, reinforcing health security via disease surveillance and tackling health inequities, including human rights and gender barriers.
The Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, was quoted as saying, “With the incredible support of partners and donors around the world, we succeeded in reaching over $14bn to help save 16 million lives.”
“Building on the concept of shared responsibility, Nigeria ensured through the ongoing budgetary process that President Buhari’s commitment at the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 to make government resources (approximately N3.5bn) available to put an additional 50,000 Nigerians on life-saving antiretroviral therapy every year is realised,” the statement added.
It quoted the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, as saying, “Every Nigerian has a right to good health. We have a responsibility to ensure that this basic right is available to all Nigerians. The government is committed to enhancing ownership and sustainability of the HIV/AIDS response.”
Gunilla Carlsson, the UNAIDS Executive Director, said Nigeria bears a huge burden of the global TB, malaria and HIV epidemics and as such it is imperative that both domestic and international investments are urgently scaled up.
“The increase in Nigeria’s pledge to the Global Fund sends a strong signal that Nigeria is ready and committed to end its TB, malaria and HIV epidemics.”
Dr Gambo Aliyu, the Director General, NACA, said the continued Government of Nigeria funding for growing the National Treatment and Prevention Programmes is vital for the sustainability of the AIDS response.
“I appeal to all governors to equally commit to investing to end AIDS in Nigeria as a public health threat by 2030,” Aliyu said.
Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the National Coordinator of the Network for the People Living with HIV, said Nigeria’s government should own up to the HIV and AIDS response.
“Putting money into the national response is an investment in humanity. Our continuous access to medication and our right to health care is a fundamental right. Government should make it happen,” he said.