The wife of the Nigerian president, Aisha Buhari, has called on partners in the advocacy against HIV to scale up adolescent health information, saying this would help in the control and prevention of the disease across the world.
According to a statement by Suleiman Haruna, her director of information, Mrs Buhari made the call Tuesday at the China/Africa AIDS Prevention and Control Conference, which was organised by the First Lady of the Peoples’ Republic of China.
The event was on the sidelines of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing, China.
Lamenting the high number of HIV patients in Nigeria and other African countries, Mrs Buhari said the only way to curb HIV/AIDS is by including health education for young people, as HIV has become a global public health issue.
She gave the example of Nigeria, which has studied the adolescent and young people’s challenges and developed a national HIV strategy that targets this population with context specific interventions.
It is undisputable fact that HIV continues to be a major global public health issue” she said, “and it is painful to note that adolescent and young people are among the high risk and vulnerable groups” describing them as representing the future productive group of any society.
She charged stakeholders to take extraordinary measures to mitigate the contextual drivers of this epidemic among this special group if the dream of ending AIDS by 2030 is to be achieved.
Mrs Buhari also commended the idea of a joint action plan between relevant stakeholders in China and Africa in the combating the menace of HIV/AIDS.
In her remarks, First Lady of the People’s Republic of China, Peng Liyuan, said the conference was another step forward in China – Africa relations, which creates historic opportunities for health cooperation.
She called on African countries to work with China in the fight against AIDS, deepen cooperation and continue to contribute to the health and well-being of their peoples.
Mrs Peng promised that starting from 2019, China will work with African countries and relevant international organisations on a three – year programme for adolescent preventive and community health programmes to raise awareness and help countries move towards the Sustainable Development Goal of ending HIV/AIDS by 2030.
She commended African countries for their massive and effective campaigns which have seen a rise in the number of patients receiving anti-retroviral treatment, lower death rates, and declining number of children with HIV/AIDS.
“Many of you made tremendous effort to make this happen. I have nothing but admiration and respect for all of you,” she said to the first ladies.
The event was attended by first ladies from 36 countries and the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Michel Sidibe.