By Asmau Ahmad
The UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has asked NACA to develop a framework that would eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV by 2020 and halt AIDS by 2030. Dr Bilali Camara, Country Director, UNAIDS, gave the task in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday.
Camara said President Muhamadu Buhari had made it clear to the world that Nigeria would play its role in the processes to ensure that HIV/AIDS became a history by 2030. He said UNAIDS would work with all the national structures such as NACA, state governments and other bodies to be able to move together and make it a reality.
“This means that we are going to embrace two important notions which are improvement of treatment and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.” According to Camara, the UN general assembly meeting has approved the 90-90-90 target and it was endorsed by all the UN member states.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its guidelines on the target and called it ‘treat all.’
“Meaning that anybody tested positive of HIV/AIDS must be treated irrespective of his CD4 count as soon as possible,’’ he said. Camara said the president laid his commitment and vision on the new ambitious target of fighting the disease in Nigeria.
“It is left to the key players to get together and transform the vision of the president into concrete actions.
“This action include local production of the anti-retroviral drugs, cost reduction on the anti-retroviral drugs if we are to import them, making sure that anybody tested positive of HIV accesses the drugs,’’ he said.
The country representative said UNAIDS and other development partners such as Pepfer and Global fund were ready to swing into action. “It is up to NACA to take the lead with the support of the United Nations under the leadership of UNAIDS to get the frame work and translate the vision of the president into action,” Camara said.
He said it would not be wise to spend time in developing a national strategic plan that was too long, in terms of the duration. “Let us look at the framework where we tell Nigerians the key things we intend to cover within a shortest possible time.
“With that, we can go forward and ensure that we are focusing our action on the problem in states and local governments with high burden of the disease.
“If we do that, we will serve people very well, get to people what they need; the access to treatment and they move on with their lives,’’ he said.