$8bn, 300 Treatment Centres Required To Tackle HIV/AIDS—Reps

During her speech at the 2024 Nigeria HIV Prevention Conference in Abuja, Ogah emphasized that Nigeria has to spend an estimated $8 billion a year on maintaining its HIV/AIDS program.

The need for more local funding to fight HIV/AIDS in Nigeria was underlined by Amobi Ogah, the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Control.

Delivering a speech at the 2024 Nigeria HIV Prevention Conference in Abuja, Ogah emphasized that Nigeria has to spend an estimated $8 billion a year on maintaining the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Has Highest Burden Of Children Born With HIV/AIDS – NACA DG.

Nigeria continues to have the highest rate of HIV-positive births worldwide, despite 1.63 million persons receiving antiretroviral therapy. With less than 50% of the country covered by Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission, which results in about 22,000 cases annually, the country’s target to eradicate mother-to-child transmission by 2030 remains a long way off, according to Ogah, who emphasized the need to reevaluate and restrategize HIV prevention programs.

“For NACA to achieve her mandate, we must all ensure the increase of domestic funding, strengthening HIV interventions, mobilising community members for gender equality, social norms and gender equality in the optic of HIV prevention, treatment, and care service, particularly the PMTCT of HIV, support people living with and affected by HIV, the campaign against the stigmatisation and discrimination of persons living with HIV/AIDS, and ensure leadership action for these and key population communities among other interventions.

“NACA will also need to scale up its treatment centres, which is about 100. I think we should increase it to at least 300 by the end of 2024. To stem the tide and sustain the fight to end HIV through AIDS as a public health threat, funding is critical. An estimated N$8bn is needed annually to sustain the fight against HIV/AIDS,” he noted.

He emphasised that the committee will continue to advocate for an increase in funding to the sector, provide legislation that will promote comprehensive healthcare, support research, ensure access to quality treatment and strengthen partnerships crucial to the collective success.

“We will double up our oversight functions to ensure that funds budgeted for HIV/AIDS response are used for the purpose for which they are meant.

“The National Assembly, as a representative of our communities and people will continue to provide strong leadership that will engender robust collaborations and partnerships with relevant stakeholders and to achieve the focus set goal that HIV AIDS is no longer a public health threat in Nigeria by 2030,” he added.

The problem, though, goes beyond mere money matters. A comprehensive strategy that tackles healthcare worker capacity, stigma related to HIV/AIDS, and infrastructure impediments is necessary to build and maintain 300 treatment centers. In order to dispel stigma and discrimination related to the illness and provide a welcoming environment for those in need of care, community involvement and education are crucial.

In addition, cooperation between impacted communities, government agencies, healthcare providers, and civil society organizations is necessary to guarantee the sustainability and quality of HIV/AIDS services. Achieving long-lasting impact and development requires a coordinated and integrated approach that is informed by the experiences of individuals directly impacted by HIV/AIDS and guided by evidence-based approaches. Even while the path ahead may appear difficult, Nigeria has the resiliency, inventiveness, and willpower required to take on the HIV/AIDS epidemic head-on. The country may steer towards a future in which HIV/AIDS does not impede health and well-being by giving priority to local funding, making investments in treatment facilities, and cultivating partnerships.

The demand made by Chairman Amobi Ogah for 300 treatment centers and more local funding acts as a catalyst for change. The moment has come for Nigeria to once again pledge its support in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to clear the path for a better, more prosperous future for all of its people. By working together, we can defeat HIV/AIDS and create a country where every person has the chance to prosper.

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