By Salisu Sani-Idris
Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA),
Dr Sani Aliyu, on Friday in Abuja said Nigeria’s HIV indices had improved in the last five years.
Aliyu, represented by the Director, Community Prevention, Care and Support Department, NACA, made the disclosure at the launch of ‘Free to Shine’ Campaign against Childhood Aids by wife of the President, Aisha Buhari.
The theme of the campaign was, “Transforming Africa through Prioritising Children, Adolescent and Mothers in the fight against HIV.”
He restated the commitment of NACA to contain and subsequently halt the spread of HIV, adding that the Free to Shine Campaign was a reinforcement of government’s political commitment to control the epidemic in the country.
Aliyu expressed optimism that the goal to end the mother-to-child transmission of HIV was attainable, stating that Thailand, Belarus and Armenia had achieved it.
The DG said in Africa, mother-to-infant transmission rate was now below five per cent in countries such as Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania.
“I strongly believe that our mutual goal of keeping all mothers healthy and offering children a HIV-free start was achievable with the collective efforts of stakeholders across all sectors.
“This campaign presents a unique opportunity for all of us to bolster our efforts,’’ Aliyu said.
He commended the passion and efforts of the wife of the President in advocating for the well-being of women, children and adolescents in the country.
Aliyu said with the support of Mrs Buhari, NACA was confident that the campaign would unite people and organisations from the community to the national level.
He, therefore, appealed to the wives of governors to remain unrelenting in their efforts to ensure that actions were sustained, resources were mobilised and accountability was enforced at all levels.
According to the DG, NACA remains committed to its mandate and is ready to assist and support the wives of governors as they roll-out the campaign.
“I urge all stakeholders to continue to align their support to end childhood HIV and AIDS which affects our national objectives, policies and systems.
“This will ensure that Nigeria is not left behind, as the rest of the world progresses towards achieving the 90-90-9- goals of HIV epidemic control,’’ he said.
Earlier, Prof. Austin Omoigberale, President, Paediatric Association of Nigeria (PAN) expressed willingness to assist the government eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.
Omoigberale, represented by Dr Mariya Mukthar, said the campaign would go a long way to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.
The launch of the Free To Shine Campaign was graced by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Wife of the President, Dr Hajo Sani, Wives of Governors of Jigawa and Edo States, former Plateau State Deputy Governor, Mrs Pauline Tallen and others.