Nigeria Seeks More Collaboration in Fight Against HIV/AIDS

By Timothy Choij, Abuja

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Nigeria’s First Lady, Oluremi Tinubu, says the fight against HIV/AIDS can only be won with the active involvement of leaders of various communities.

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She stated in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe at the commemoration of the year 2023 World AIDS day with the theme “Let Communities Lead.”

The gathering which was organized by the First Lady of Zimbabwe, Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, ahead of the 22nd edition of the International Conference on AIDS and STI in Africa, ICASA had participants from the United Nations and other sister agencies speak about the need to scale up advocacy and education about the pandemic.

Statistics

Mrs Tinubu decried the recent statistics released by the UNAIDS which revealed that in the year 2022, there were about 1.5 million new infections and the African Continent accounted for two thirds of that figure.

“For decades, the global response to HIV/AIDS has been driven by governments, international organizations, and healthcare professionals. While their efforts have been commendable

“It is time to recognize the pivotal role that communities play in shaping the response to this epidemic. Communities should be at the forefront of the fight against HIV/AIDS, and their leadership is crucial in achieving our goals of prevention, treatment, and support.

“The Organization of African First Ladies for Development (OFLAD), would be having a preconference high level meeting on the 2nd of December under the theme “Addressing the Elimination of Mother to-Child Transmission and the Elimination of Newborn Infections in Africa,” with the purpose of sharing experiences from our various nations, providing recommendations, devising strategies to achieve the all-encompassing goal of eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV on the African Continent,” she said.

Achieving Targets

The First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria urged various community leaders, especially traditional rulers, religious leaders, Non-Governmental Organizations, NGO’s and Community Based Organizations, among others who have led the fight in the past to intensify their efforts so that the target of eradicating the pandemic by 2030 can be met.

“We are Africans. We are known for our resilience and tenacity. We must not give up. This we can do and we must do,” Mrs Tinubu added.

In her address, the First Lady of Republic of Zimbabwe Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa took time to admonish the participants about the dangers of premarital sex, unwholesome medical practices, youth and adolescents’ vices that escalate the transmission of the disease, eradication of stigmatization, knowing one’s status and the need to seek help early.

The First Lady said there is a need to stop the blame game between the men and the women and concentrate more on coming together to put an end to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

 

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