President Muhammadu Buhari has launched a N62 billion HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria (HTFN) to aid efforts towards ending AIDS as a public health threat and place more people living with HIV on treatment annually.
The fund is also expected to improve Nigeria’s efforts towards sustaining the country’s HIV response, addressing killer diseases and public health emergencies.
According to NAN, Buhari at the inauguration of the fund on Tuesday at the State House in Abuja assured that his administration would continue to place priority on health interventions to address killer diseases and public health emergencies.
What President Buhari is saying
Buhari in his statement said, “At the last United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, I made a call for a renewed global action to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa.
News continues after this ad
“Ending AIDS as a public health threat in Nigeria will require increased domestic funding. We have continued to make good our commitment of placing more people living with HIV on treatment annually using national resources.
“However, strong domestic resource mobilization with an enduring partnership and shared responsibility is required to sustain the response to HIV and other emerging public health emergencies.’’
News continues after this ad
The president expressed hope that the private sector-led initiative will surpass the N62billion target in the next 5 years, in order to adequately provide requisite treatment for HIV-positive mothers while contributing to closing the funding gap for HIV in Nigeria.
He commended the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Nigeria Business Coalition against AIDS for their efforts in establishing the HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria to secure a generation of babies free of HIV.
He added, “Going forward, I hope The HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria will galvanize more of the private sector and other partners to surpass the target of Sixty-Two Billion Naira in the next five years.’’
Also speaking at the event, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha revealed that Nigeria has spent about $6.2 billion on HIV response in Nigeria since 2005.
The SGF said, “About 80 per cent of the funds were contributed by external donors, mainly the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
“The Private Sector contributed 0.1 per cent to 2 per cent of total funds with the rest of funds provided by the Nigerian government.”
What you should know
According to reports, nearly 2 million Nigerians are living with HIV, with about 1.6 million of that figure on treatment.
The private sector-led funding for the HIV Trust fund of Nigeria is expected to crystalise a sustainable financial mechanism for the mobilisation and deployment of domestic private sector resources, particularly aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.
There is an urgent need to increase domestic funding as Nigeria leads with the highest number of HIV infections among children.