By Cecilia Ijuo
Abuja – The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Thursday called for increased global attention for HIV/AIDS funding in Nigeria.
In a statement by Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Saraki said that the fate of over 3.4 million Nigerians living with the infection would be uncertain with poor funding.
“Information at our disposal reveal that significant global support for HIV/AIDs in Nigeria has been withdrawn.
“In order not to jeopardise the treatment of millions of Nigerians that are living with HIV and AIDS, government at all levels must continue to work with our international partners to identify alternative sources of funding.
“The fire brigade approach will not work on this issue. Foresight, preparation and strategies must be put in place to tackle the potential threat to life.
“Additionally, we must assemble a team of prominent medical professionals and eminent Nigerians at home and abroad to create a campaign.
“This is to persuade the donor community to reconsider their decision,’’ he said.
The senate president also stated that the Upper Chamber would work to ensure that there were no gaps in the HIV/AIDS funding regime.
He expressed optimism that government’s external funding request would be granted.
He said that the 2017 Budget contained provisions to fund initiatives aimed at rolling back the spread of polio and cholera, which had experienced gradual resurgence in the northern part of the country.
“With the various challenges facing Nigerian’s health sector, now is not the time to retreat on HIV/AIDS.
“The loss of funding will create immediate stress on an already overburdened system,’’ Saraki said, adding that Nigeria would overcome the challenge.