1 December 2012

Nigeria: 'FG Yet to Pay U.S.$250 Million for HIV/Aids Campaign'

Port Harcourt, Abuja Minna — As the World AIDS Day is celebrated across the globe, the Federal Government has been accused of failing to provide the additional counterpart funding of about 38.7 billion naira ($250 million) needed to facilitate the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Country Director, Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Dr. Okey Nwanyanwu, said this yesterday during a workshop to mark this year's World AIDS Day in Abuja.

He said the United States of America has fulfilled its part of an earlier Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to provide $250 million for the HIV/AIDS annually, but that the Nigerian government was yet to provide its own.

"The more funds we have the more people we can put on treatment, the government has the will and should show commitment by releasing the much needed resources to ensure a free HIV/AIDS generation," he said.

Earlier, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, Patrick Dakum said the institute is working towards ensuring that no baby is born infected with the HIV/AIDS virus.

According to him, the best strategy is to get every pregnant woman tested, and if she is positive give her Pre Exposure Prophylaxis so that she can have free HIV/AIDS children.

Meanwhile, Niger State Commissioner for Health and Hospital Management Services, Dr. Ibrahim Sule has said an estimated 129, 695 people are living with HIV/AIDS in the state and that 17, 944 are accessing the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) in 21 designated health centers in the state.

On its part, Rivers State said about 180,000 persons are living with the dreaded virus in the state. Executive Director of the Rivers State Aids Control Agency Dr. Chimezie Okeh said out of the number, 17,000 are children.

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