Nigeria Should Begin Production of Anti-Retrovirals – Minister
The Federal Government should facilitate the local production of anti-retrovirals (ARVs) in order to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDs, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said.
Speaking at the second annual conference of the Nigeria Implementation Science Alliance (NISA) in Abuja at the weekend, he said it was also important for improved government counterpart funding for HIV/AIDS commodities. The minister said despite over two decades of fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Nigeria still had a high burden of HIV/AIDS, second only to South Africa in global ranking. He said: “Globally, Nigeria also contributes the highest number of vertically transmitted childhood HIV infections, accounting for 30% of the global burden. It has the second highest number of pregnant women living with HIV delivering (210,000) and the highest number of children living with HIV (380,000).” While noting that it was important to mobilize all sectors for HIV/AIDS response, he said ambition would be required to get ahead of the epidemic and save millions of lives. Convener of the conference, the Executive Director of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, (NPHCDA), Prof. Echezona Ezeanolue, said some of the major challenges to implementing evidence -based interventions for HIV in Nigeria include poor dissemination and adoption by communities where they were needed.