Nigerian governors funding pilgrimages, instead of HIV/AIDS treatment, Group says

HIV Ribbon
HIV Ribbon

The Coalition of Civil Society Network for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria has said that increased funding for curative and preventive intervention for HIV/AIDS will give rise to zero level response in Nigeria.

Ikenna Nwakamma, the first co-Chairman of the society, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

Mr Nwakamma said that Nigeria would get to the path of eliminating the virus by the sincerity and commitment of stakeholders and government at all levels and stakeholders through funding.

He said: “It is only through ownership that we can confidently say that we are into a serious fight that will give a high degree of confidence that HIV is in serious trouble.

“Ownership entails total financing, using local health technology and drugs, using local data to make public health policies.

“After over two decades of fighting HIV in Nigeria, how much has Nigeria contributed to the total investment in HIV response?

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“No state has been able to say, let me take over this number of people and about 10 states have not spent one naira up till now in the fight against HIV.

“But these states fund pilgrimages to Jerusalem and Mecca.”

Mr Nwakamma, who said that India had produced local anti-retroviral drugs, underscored the need for Nigeria to internalise the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He regretted that Nigeria that was about the second largest contributor to the global HIV burden was lagging behind in research and innovations.

According to him, we cannot say Nigeria and indeed Africa is going to win the battle soon because of the lack of political will to look for a solution from inside of us.

Mr Nwakamma advocated the inclusion of HIV in the National Health Insurance Scheme to engender robust involvement of the private sector.
(NAN)

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