The United States says it has committed more than $5.1 billion to the
fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria through its President’s Emergency
Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The U.S. Charge d’ Affaires, David
Young, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of a photo
exhibition to commemorate PEPFAR’s 15th Anniversary in Nigeria. “Since
2003 the PEPFAR has transformed lives through access to life saving
HIV prevention treatment services. American people have kept this
commitment over the past 15 years. “Today our global commitments stand
at 72.7 billion dollars, combating what has been described as the
worst human scourge in history. “In Nigeria we have committed more
than five billion dollars to the fight against HIV/AIDS since the
inception of PEPFAR,” he said. He reiterated the commitment of the
U.S. government to collaborating with the federal government in the
fight against HIV/AIDS. The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole,
described PEPFAR as a game changer that brought hope to the hopeless
situation of some of the people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.
Mr Adewole commended the U.S. government for the support and
assistance through PEPFAR which, he said, had brought relief to those
living with the virus in the country. “We want to thank the U.S.
government for putting down the money through PEPFAR to fight against
the scourge in the country. “This is the victory of science over
disease, over death and sickness it shows what human being can do. We
want you to convey our appreciation to the U.S government,” he said.
The Director-General, Health Implementation programme, Ministry of
Defence, Nurudeen Hussein, a brigadier general, said PEPFAR had helped
in reducing the HIV/AIDS prevalence in the military to 2.5 per cent
from 3.5 per cent. According to him, through the PEPFAR there have
been an improvement in the infrastructure and the laboratory upgrade
in the military healthcare delivery. “It has also improved our
healthcare delivery service in such a way that the healthcare
programme caters for 85 per cent of civilians who were within and
around our barracks,” Mr Hussein said. The Director-General, National
Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Sani Aliyu, said that before
PEPFAR treatment of HIV victims was very expensive but PEPFAR has
changed the entire HIV spectrum. Mr Aliyu said that the scheme had
brought hope and light to the people living with the virus.
“Twenty years ago in this country what we have is darkness, people
living with HIV could not see the light, if you have HIV it was
basically a death sentence; PEPFAR has brought hope, and light to that
darkness,” he said. According to him, PEPFAR epitomises humanity, the
generosity and compassion when it comes to dealing with people that
are sick, it has shown that there is hope for the future. “If you look
at our statistics in the country there is a particular graph that
shows that without HIV programme we would have lost about 1.5 million
Nigerians and have at least more five million Nigerians infected than
what we have now. “The fulcrum of the HIV response in Nigeria is
PEPFAR, it looks after thousands of people with the sickness; they are
doing that willingly as a country.

No Comments

Leave a Comment