Representatives to Look into N62 Billion FG Allotted for HIV Control

Members of the committee emphasized the need for enhanced sensitization on the disease's impact, particularly in rural communities

The House Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy, and Malaria has committed to probing the utilization and impact of the N62 billion federal government intervention funds, along with additional donor funds from Global Funds invested in the HIV/AIDS control program during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Committee Chairman Amobi Ogah declared this intention during an oversight visit to various agencies in Abuja on Thursday. While expressing optimism about the strides made in the fight against HIV/AIDS by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), led by Director-General Dr. Aliyu Gambo, concerns were raised about the accuracy of statistics on HIV/AIDS prevalence across states.

The allocation of N62 billion for HIV control by the federal government underscores the gravity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. This substantial investment reflects the government’s commitment to combating the spread of the virus, providing treatment, and supporting those affected. However, the efficacy of such investments hinges on their transparent and efficient use.

Oversight by the House Committee is vital in ensuring that allocated funds are utilized for their intended purposes. The investigation seeks to evaluate the impact of the intervention funds on the ground, assess the efficiency of implementation strategies, and identify any potential shortcomings in the current approach to HIV/AIDS control.

The reliability of HIV/AIDS prevalence statistics is foundational to crafting evidence-based policies. The investigation should delve into the methodologies used in data collection, ensuring that the numbers presented accurately reflect the true extent of the epidemic. This scrutiny is essential for devising targeted interventions and measuring progress over time.

Members of the committee emphasized the need for enhanced sensitization on the disease’s impact, particularly in rural communities. Data from the National HIV/AIDS Impact Survey conducted by NACA revealed that, in most states, a significant proportion of individuals sampled had contracted the HIV/AIDS virus.

Despite pledging support for NACA’s disease control programs, the committee expressed disappointment at the absence of the National Coordinators of the National Malaria Control Programme and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programmes (NTLCP) during the oversight, despite prior notification.

Expressing frustration over the absence of the chief executive officers, who were represented by their staff members, Committee Chairman Ogah remarked that their actions demonstrated a lack of regard for the National Assembly. He further highlighted that, rather than politicians, the leadership of government agencies and institutions constituted a major challenge for the nation.

The investigation into the N62 billion allocated for HIV control by the federal government is a pivotal moment for Nigeria’s public health landscape. It exemplifies the government’s dedication to transparency, accountability, and the continuous improvement of strategies to combat HIV/AIDS. The insights gained from this inquiry will undoubtedly contribute to a more effective and targeted response to the ongoing challenges posed by the epidemic.

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