President Muhammadu Buhari has urged for cheaper production of anti – retroviral drugs through technology exchange, to boost the fight against HIV/AIDs.
Stating that the fight against HIV/AIDs will be greatly enhanced with the cheaper production of anti-retroviral drugs improved health delivery and education systems, he called on pharmaceuticals to cooperate in reducing the cost of anti – retroviral drugs through production of generic items.
This is even as he called on countries to look at the whole field of medicare and strengthen partnerships with all stakeholders including the civil society, inter- faith and cultural bodies for education and dissemination of information at all levels.
Speaking at a forum organized by the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDs (NACA) on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York, Nigeria’s President said it was unfortunate that Sub -Saharan Africa still bears a disproportionate burden of the HIV/AIDs epidemic.
“Our countries should also look at the whole field of medicare and strengthen our partnership with all stakeholders including the civil society, inter- faith and cultural bodies for education and dissemination of information at all levels.
Nigeria will also like to call upon all pharmaceutical companies for more cooperation and understanding in reducing the cost of anti – retroviral drugs through production of generic items” the President said.
Worldwide, Nigeria has the second highest number of new infections reported each year, and an estimated 3.7 percent of the population are living with HIV. Although HIV prevalence is much lower in Nigeria than in other African countries, such as South Africa and Zambia.
Nigeria has made significant progress towards the interception of mother to child transmission of HIV.
In 2014 alone, over 3million pregnant women were tested for HIV and 63,000 of these tested women, accessed anti – retroviral therapy.
We are on the threshold of history as world leaders adopt the successor development agenda to the Millennium Development Goals.
For over 30 years, HIV as a public health challenge has been causing havoc and untold hardship in virtually every part of the world. To date, several million children have been orphaned and some communities have been devastated, while economic activities have been disrupted, the President said.
Commending world leaders for adopting the new Sustainable Development Goals, the President said Nigeria will continue to work with development partners and key stakeholders to strengthen the means of implementation of the SDGs as elaborated in the Post- 2015 Development Agenda.
At the continental level, Nigeria remains fully committed to the outcome of the Abuja process as evident in the 2002 Declaration, the Action Framework on Roll – Back Malaria. In addition, the 2013 Abuja + 12 Declaration is a strong commitment towards eliminating HIV and AIDs in Africa by 2030. Globally, the United Nations Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS of 2011 is a major reference point for intensifying efforts to eliminate the epidemic, he added.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of a final report of the Millennium Development Goals by the Director in Nigeria’s MDG office.
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