Nigerian government to advance HIV response

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The Federal government of Nigeria has highlighted commitment to advancing HIV response in the country.

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The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammed Pate, said at a performance review meeting hosted by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC), in Abuja on Wednesday.

Represented by Dr Anyaike Chukwuma, the Director of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Pate emphasised the progress made in combating HIV and acknowledged the crucial support provided by the U.S. CDC and the U.S. Government as a whole.

He outlined the achievements, challenges and plans in the fight against HIV, underscoring the importance of sustainable financing, improved governance and enhanced healthcare outcomes.

He said, “Over the past three decades, Nigeria has made significant strides in advancing its position in the global response to HIV.

“The country has achieved remarkable success in expanding the delivery of HIV testing, treatment and care services, with an
impressive accomplishment of meeting the UNAIDS 95.95.95 cascade targets by the end of 2022.

“While celebrating these achievements, we emphasised the need to address gaps in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission
of HIV (PMTCT) and ART coverage among pediatric population.”

Pate added that government’s four-point agenda and its collaborative efforts with stakeholders was to ensure a resilient and sustainable
healthcare system in the country.

He explained that the Ministry of Health and development partners prioritised interventions such as the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund
(BHCPF) and the National Health Insurance Act to ensure sustainable health financing.

He said the rebranding of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) was to strengthen the healthcare system.

Pate added that, “The National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and STIs Control Programme (NASCP) has been restructured to align with new horizons and effectively lead the HIV Response.

“The U.S. CDC grant, known as the Nigeria HIV Sustainability and Impact Project (NSHIP), is being implemented by NASCP to strengthen programme management and service delivery.

“This includes integrating HIV services into national and state health insurance schemes and implementing the National Clinical Mentorship Programme (NCMP) for quality HIV care.”

The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Mr David Greene, said the country’s efforts had grown as inched closer to reaching the UNAIDS 95-95-95 goals.
Greene said that the operation of key population-led One Stop Shops that provided safe space for comprehensive care empowered communities and saved lives.

He added that, “The innovation hubs for adolescents and youth populations are building a generation of strong and talented leaders.

“In April, I visited the hub in Lagos and was impressed by the spirit and skills of the students and staff there.

“The evolution and expansion of offerings at the hubs to include new training in areas like virtual reality that will prepare youths
to meet the demands of the ever-changing digital world is one of the many reasons I and the U.S. Government are proud to continue to partner with you all.”

He said that the introduction and implementation of an integrated health service delivery platform was a novel idea with huge potential.