The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and Leprosy, Honourable Haruna Joseph Kigbu, on Monday, lamented that over 700,000 new cases of infection were recorded annually in Nigeria, as a result of mother-to-child transmission. According to him, “looking at the indices, we have done well in fighting the disease but on the other aspect, new infections have continued to occur, especially from mother to child. We are aware that 700,000 new infections are recorded yearly which is the highest in the whole of Africa. It may be because of our population. We have three million to four million Nigerians who are infected.”
Honourable Kigbu, who represents Lafia/Obi Federal Constituency, disclosed this in a telephone chat with the Nigerian Tribune in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, on the occasion of the World AIDS Day. He said the Federal Government had increased its budget for awareness campaign, prevention, treatment and control of HIV and AIDS from a paltry N300 million to N7 billion over the past eight year, hence, more needs to be done to curb the spread of the scourge.
The wife of Oyo State governor and Chairperson of the Oyo State Agency for Control of AIDS (SACA), Mrs Florence Ajimobi, has called for the enactment of antidiscrimination law to ensure the rights of persons living with HIV (PLHIV), saying discrimination was fuelling HIV spread. Chief Ajimobi spoke during a rally organised by OYOSACA in conjunction with CiSHAN to mark the 2014 World AIDS day at the Bola Ige Modern market in Ibadan.
The OYOSACA boss, who spoke through Mrs Bukola Obadimeji, said the antidiscrimination law would ensure the right of PLHIV to employment, education, privacy and confidentiality as well as right to access information, treatment, care and support services. In a related development, Nigerian government has been urged to save women and children’s lives by adequately investing in prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS.
Giving the advice on Monday to mark World AIDS Day, a Non-Governmental Organisation, Development Communications (DevComs) Network, in a press statement, said its observation was premised on WHO recommendation in the Global Health Sector Strategy on HIV/AIDS 2011-2015, which advised countries to strengthen linkages between HIV and maternal, newborn and child health services.