Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Global Fund Happy With HIV, TB Treatment in Nigeria

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, on Tuesday expressed delight at the level of care and treatment given to persons infected with HIV and tuberculosis in Nigeria.

Ms Colette Selman, Senior Fund Portfolio Manager, said this during a visit to Global Fund funded sites on HIV and Tuberculosis in Gwagwalada, FCT.

She said that with the level of care achieved at the sites, there had been a remarkable dedication to the fight against HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis in the country.

"Funds disbursed to date amount to 784 million dollars, Nigeria is the second largest country in Africa living with HIV and AIDS, with the burden of 3.1 million population infected with the virus.

"Evidence showed that the epidemic is also highly concentrated among high-risk groups, but recently, progress is being made," she said.

Selman said that the visit had shown that Nigeria could achieve a TB-free world with continuous support and commitment from relevant agencies.

She said that since 2002, the Global Fund had received two grants, stressing that Nigeria was under a lifetime budget of 1.35 billion dollars.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) observed that at some of sites visited, most of the patients receiving TB care are also infected with HIV and AIDS.

Mr Donatus Amuzie, the Heart to Heart site coordinator, St. Mary's Catholic Hospital Gwagwalada, said that Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services had been effective.

He said that all the HIV positive pregnant women who accessed the service had HIV negative babies, stressing that awareness was key as people were counselled on pre-conceived ideas.

Amuzie said that delivery for HIV and AIDS positive mother was free, adding that this had helped them to access care at no cost.

"We advice the mothers that early infant diagnosis was key as this will help them to protect the unborn baby from HIV," he said.

He said that a total of 205 positive mothers had accessed the service, stressing that government should do all in its power to provide constant drugs.

NAN reports that on Dec. 13, Nigeria will be signing five grant agreements totaling 335 million dollars.

The funding will help in the expansion, treatment, support and care services for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as well as strengthening the health system.

The recipients are the Society for Family Health, Association for Reproductive and Family Health, the Institute for Human Virology, National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the National Malaria Control Programme.

The Global Fund is an international financing institution based in Geneva, Switzerland, dedicated to attracting and disbursing resources to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. NAN

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