US reiterates support to fighting HIV in Abia

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The U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires (CDA), Kathleen FitzGibbon, has led a Mission Nigeria interagency team to Abia State to mark the re-engagement of U.S. assistance to the State through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and support renewed efforts towards HIV epidemic control.

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This was disclosed by the U.S Mission in Nigeria via a statement issued on Tuesday.

The delegation was comprised of PEPFAR Coordinator, Mark Giambrone; US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Country Director, Dr. Mary Boyd; US Agency for International Development, HIV/TB Office Director, Rachel Goldstein; and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Country Director, Dr. Laura Chittenden.

They were joined by the Director-General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Aliyu Gambo, and the Coordinator of the National AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections Control and Hepatitis Program, Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu, as well as the representative of the Nigerian Ministry of Defense, Health Implementation Program, Brig. Gen. NAE Okeji (Rtd).

The delegation met with Governor Okezie Ikpeazu during which FitzGibbon expressed the US government’s commitment to Abia State in its efforts to achieve HIV epidemic control and encouraged the Governor to build on his commitment to the health care system in the state.

The Governor was also advised to prioritise the recruitment of healthcare workers to help sustain the expanded HIV program and other critical public health services.

In addition, she called for an increased health budget allocation and release of funds, ensuring that the efforts to have additional patients on treatment succeed.

MTO/Punch

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