Nigeria is strengthening ties with five neighbouring countries to reduce the spate of trans border HIV/AIDS infection amounting to about 4.3 million.
Commending the gesture, the UNAIDS country coordinator Dr. Bilali Camara noted that in these five countries, the prevalence varies between 1.1% and 3.2% with the total number of 4,282,000 people living with HIV at the end of 2012. The five countries include Nigeria, Ghana, Republic of Benin, Togo and Cot d’Ivoire. Speaking during the second Abidjan-Lagos Corridor Organization’s (ALCO) governing board meeting yesterday, the UNAIDs country coordinator said within the same year 306,000 new HIV cases occurred and 293,300 people died of AIDS related diseases, resulting in a staggering number of 2,903,00 orphans due to AIDS.
He pointed out that 66% of the persons living with HIV in Africa are resident in West and Central African and mostly in these five countries which also accounts for 68% of the new HIV infections in the region.
Earlier the chairman of ALCO who is also the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, professor John Idoko stressed the importance of the sustaining the collaboration of the five countries saying that it would go a long way in reducing the epidemic in the African region.
Speaking on the need to fund the organization, Idoko said, ALCO exists due to the generosity of the development partners which should not be the case. He lamented that the commitment made by the five countries to contribute $80,000 yearly to the organization has not been met.
According to him such funds are needed to sustain the activities of the organization adding that depending on donor agencies does not augur well for the organization.