By Salisu Sani-Idris
Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, says Nigeria has enough resources to provide treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS, (PLWHA) without depending on foreign agencies.
Mrs Buhari made the assertion at the launch of Free to Shine Campaign against Childhood Aids, at the Secretariat of African First Ladies Peace Mission (AFLPM) on Friday in Abuja.
The theme of the campaign was “Transforming Africa through Prioritising Children, Adolescents and Mothers in the fight against HIV/AIDS. “
The wife of the president called on the Ministry of Health to create a platform that would mobilise funds from government agencies to provide adequate healthcare for the PLWHA.
She listed such agencies to include the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Mrs Buhari, however, restated her commitment to the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV in the country.
“We don’t need to get other foreign agencies involved in taking care of our people.
“I believe that we have the resources which if utilised judiciously, will make all of us feel comfortable living in Nigeria,” she said.
She explained that free to shine campaign was designed to complement ongoing efforts towards the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV and syphilis on the African continent.
Mrs Buhari also said that first ladies in Africa had committed themselves to the campaign with the aim at ending childhood AIDS in Africa by 2030 and keeping mothers healthy.
She said, “Many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status, despite this challenge.
“Nigeria is committed to ensuring that the vision and mission of the free to shine campaign are achieved in the country.
“ As UNAID Special Ambassador to the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV, I need the promotion of treatment for children living with HIV in Nigeria.
“I have more reasons to ensure that this happens. My vision in this campaign is to end childhood AIDS in Nigeria and keep mothers healthy.
“This vision will be achieved through several programmes that will increase the number of HIV pregnant women identified and placed on treatment for their health and prevention of the transmission to their babies.
She, therefore, enjoined stakeholders to pay particular attention to issues that were critical to the reduction of HIV among mothers and their children.
Earlier, Mrs Helen Aphan, leader, Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN) appealed to the wife of the president to come to the aid of those infected.
“ HIV treatment is still not available and accessible to many women living with the scourge.
“I want to use this medium to cry to the wife of the president to assist in making the treatment free and available,” Aphan said.