- The federal government has announced that drones are now being deployed to states in Nigerian communities to help in the fight against HIV/AIDS
- The disclosure was made by the director-general of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Gambo Aliyu
- According to Aliyu, the drones help the agency to deliver anti-retroviral drugs to various communities across the country
In its effort to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and deaths from the disease, the Nigerian government has announced its plans to deploy drones in states across the country.
The director-general of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu, said even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic the agency has succeeded in the distribution of Anti-Retroviral drugs in some states.
Speaking at the Sixth National Council of AIDS meeting attended by Legit.ng, Aliyu noted that the move by NACA is aimed at minimising the death rate within the HIV/AIDS communities.
According to the NACA DG, this and other existing HIV/AIDS coordination platforms and community structures were strengthened to support the COVID-19 response.
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He also assured that the NACA toll line was deployed for continuous sensitization on proper hygiene, social distancing and answering frequent questions from the public while some of the agency's program managers in the states were engaged as epidemiology officers to strengthen the fight against the disease.
Stating that Nigeria recorded its largest growth in HIV treatment numbers in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aliyu said that the country has initiated close to 300,000 people living with HIV treatment in 2020.
“In line with programme sustainability, the HIV and AIDS response has witnessed and evolved over the years in ensuring Country Alignment Plan in all HIV and AIDS programmes.
“In view of this, there has been progressing in the efforts to improve programme coordination through regular engagements with stakeholders and reintroduce the Joint Annual Programme Review process which will contribute to the sustained positive evaluations and results whilst advocating for allocation of resources from state governments."
The NACA boss added that the re-emergence of the Nigeria Business Coalition against AIDS (NiBUCCA) and its renewed conversations with NACA led to the launch of the Private Sector-led HIV Trust Fund by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Aliyu assured that the NiBUCCA hopes to be a game-changer in the financing of the National HIV and AIDS Response.
“The country, in her strides, is moving towards HIV epidemic control and programme sustainability which is in line with global agenda and built on innovative approaches to exceed the 95:95:95 targets.
"We can all agree that achieving HIV epidemic control in Nigeria requires innovative thinking, good planning, and domestic resourcing for sustainability.”
Minister of women affairs throws in support for NACA
In her remarks, Nigeria's minister of women affairs, Pauline Tallen, reassured the participants of the federal government's commitment and support of her ministry.
Tallen said the women affairs ministry will continue to support NACA n its quest to achieve the global target of ending HIV/AIDs transmission in a few years to come.
“We are the strongest partners NACA should have because we deal with women and girls some of whom are living with HIV/AIDs.
"We request that vulnerable women and girls should be at the centre of HIV/AIDs response in Nigeria.”
In addition, the country portfolio manager for Nigeria, Global Fund, Jean-Thomas Nouboussi, announced that plans are under the way for the next replenishment meeting scheduled to hold in the United States.
Nouboussi also disclosed that $18 billion is expected to be raised by all stakeholders in the forthcoming meeting.
HIV/AIDS: NACA not disappointing Nigeria in this fight, UN boasts
The Nigerian government had been commended for their efforts in the prevention of new HIV transmission in the country.
The commendation was given to Nigeria by the country director of the United Nations Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Erasmus Morah.
Also, the minister of health called on all stakeholders to ensure that all hands must be on deck to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Statistics of babies born HIV positive in Nigeria
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that a report from the National AIDS and STIs Control Programme showed that 490 babies tested positive for HIV in 2020.
Details of the report showed that in 2020; 27,909 infant DNA samples were tested, 19,715 were tested and 409 babies' results came out positive and in 2019; 26,247 infant DNA samples were collected, 19,947 were tested and 833 were positive.
It was also gathered that a large number of these babies contracted the virus mostly because their mothers failed to access facilities for antenatal care and ended up either delivering at home or other birthing locations.