Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria Needs Over N700 Billion for Anti-Retroviral Drugs - NACA

The Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Professor John Idoko, says more than N700 billion was needed to achieve universal access to anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs in Nigeria.

Idoko said this yesterday at a roundtable for principal recipients of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Abuja in partnership with NACA.

He explained that there was a huge gap between persons accessing anti-retroviral drugs and those requiring them, stressing that government must commit resources towards meeting their need.

"Presently, only 432,000 persons living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) are accessing the drugs in contrast with the 1.5 million people needing it.

"We have realised that the Federal Government need to commit more funds to this cause; drugs are critical they interrupt transmission," he said.

He explained that Nigeria was the second most troubled country by HIV and AIDS in the world.

Idoko said that government should focus more on making HIV treatment cheaper by reducing the cost of drugs and tests, adding that there was the need to strengthen the health systems.

The director-general said that 12 states have high HIV rates but did not disclose the states.

Speaking, Colette Selman, the Global Fund's Senior Fund Portfolio Manager, said Nigeria needed additional N84.62 billion ($528,876) from the global fund to help the country's campaign to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

According to her the fund has spent over $1.3 billion to reduce the impact of the three diseases in Nigeria since inception.

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