By Mustapha Yauri
Abuja – The UNAIDS says it is collaborating with its partners to develop a plan to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the Cross Rivers, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna states and the FCT.
Dr Bilali Camara, the Country Director, UNAIDS Nigeria, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
Camara said that UNAIDS in collaboration with UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF would cover treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission completely in the states.
He said that the agency was also working closely with PEPFAR, Global Fund and other partners to accelerate HIV and AIDS response programme in the country.
According to him, the Global Fund will also become more active at states level and has identified Kaduna, Oyo and Imo, as the states it intends to focus attention.
“The global fund will specially focus its attention on Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and treatment in the states.
“We are working together, supporting them with strategic information and helping them with technical background of the issue,’’ he said.
Camara said that UNAIDS was also collaborating with the Governors Forum to enable more people access HIV and AIDS response at state level.
According to him, the governors’ forum is very important and powerful platform that will fast track ending of HIV and AIDS as a public health challenge by 2030 in Nigeria.
He, however, noted that UNAIDS would leverage on Maternal and Newborn Child Health Week to widen the access to HIV and AIDS response services.
He said the UNAIDS would use the week to enhance access to HIV and AIDS services and ensure that it yielded more results by reaching out to many people through the pregnant women.
“When you identify one child or a pregnant woman living with HIV and AIDS during the week, it may also lead other people within the family,’’ he said.
Camara added that UNAIDS would also partner with the governor’s forum to decentralise the treatment of HIV and AIDS under the task shifting and task sharing policy of the government.
He said that task shifting and task sharing policy allow key stakeholders to decentralise the treatment of HIV and bring the services closer to people.
“It also enables nurses to treat people leaving with HIV and AIDS.’’
The country director commended Prof Isaac Adewole, the Minister of Health, for the bold initiatives to put more than 100,000 people on treatment in 2017.
“We are very pleased by the minister’s bold step; that is commendable. It is a good step and a sign of good leadership toward ending AIDS as public health challenge in the country,’’ he said.