Nigeria can end HIV/AIDS in 2030 – UNAIDS country director

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The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) outgoing country director, Dr. Erasmus Morah, has stated that Nigeria can end the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in 2030.

Morah said in an interview that, current coverage of 90-83, Nigeria is already well positioned to bring treatment to 95 per cent of all those in need and to keep 95 per cent of them on treatment virally suppressed.

He also said, there are many things that Nigeria must still do to ensure that the end of AIDS in sight is realized without fail.

At the time of my appointment to Nigeria in 2017, the former Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, told me, “Erasmus, you will have a difficult job in Nigeria. Not only are the coverage figures not good, but people just don’t believe any HIV data coming out of the country.

“We must find a way to help the country change this narrative. These words have been like a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path.

“Indeed, when I arrived, treatment coverage for people living with HIV was estimated at a little more than 30 percent, and there were no reliable data for programming and targeting the response.”

The Government of Nigeria had essentially left financing of the I was extremely fortunate to have come to Nigeria when the stars were aligned for the HIV response.

Collaborating with the current national leadership of the HIV response, Mr Boss Mustapha, Minister Osagie Ehanire, Director-General Aliyu Gambo and NEPWHAN Coordinator, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, we have been able to achieve a lot over the past five years.

“My proudest achievement is the role that UNAIDS played in promoting the rights of people living with HIV, not the least of which is being a catalyst with WHO in the re-establishment of the National Treatment and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Programme.”

The national response recorded the breakthrough commitment from President Buhari to fund treatment for 50,000 additional Nigerians every year, as well as the successful launch of the private sector-led national HIV Trust Fund.

These came in conjunction with the wider government and development partners-led treatment scale-up from 850,000 to over 1,600,000 people on treatment at present.

READ ALSO: Nigeria to overcome HIV/AIDS stigma by 2030 – Inter-Faith

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