The Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology if Nigeria, IHVN, Dr. Patrick Dakum, has revealed that Nigeria has more children living with Human Immuno Virus, HIV, in the world, and that about 3.2 million people are living with the virus in the country.
The CEO, who stated this during a press conference organised in collaboration with Access Bank in Lagos recently, noted that since the past three decades, the virus has claimed many lives, adding that IHVN has been established to make provision for quality laboratory support, prevention, care and treatment for people living with HIV and other infected diseases as about 220,000 acquire HIV virus annually.
He explained that IHVN in its own capacity has counseled and tested over 8.7 million people who now know their HIV status and make informed choices about their lives; enabled 69,540 women living with HIV to give birth to HIV free children, and helped over 256,000 adults and 15,771 children with drugs for HIV to live positively with the disease.
Dr. Patrick said "it is not about what IHVN have done but about what we can all do to build a future in which our children can respond to diseases that they may face. We see a future in which scientists are nurtured to research into diseases and this is a step towards building it. The International Research Center of Excellent that the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria, IHVN, plans to build will be a center of excellence in prevention, treatment, care and research into infectious and non-infectious diseases".
He stretched that over the years samples were been taken out of the country to carryout tests and researches but the institute was trying all its possible best to ensure that these samples were treated here in Nigeria and also to ensure quality results.
"We appreciate the support of partners such as Access Bank, that worked with us to organize this event. Beyond this event however, we seek your commitment and support that will attract funding and materials that will turn our plans on paper to an actual building. Every kobo can make a huge impact. Let us contribute to a better future" he said
Also lending their voices, the Executive Director of Access Bank Plc. Mr. Victor Etuokwu and the CEO of Dangote foundation Mrs. Zouera Youssoufou, discloses their interest in going into partnership with IHVN to build an International Research Centre of Excellent to research in infectious and non-infectious diseases.
Mr. Otuokwu noted that the country needs to imbibe research culture in order to move to a better state, adding that Access Bank was enthusiastically involve in this framework to ensure development in healthcare.
He also urged Nigerians to encourage the institute since they have decided to take up task of research in the country.