Abuja (WorldStage Newsonline)--Nigeria accounts for 72,000 of the world 390, 000 children born with HIV positive yearly, according to Eric Goosby, Ambassador for the Global AIDS Coordination, US President’s Emergency Programme for AIDS Reliefs (PEPFAR).
Speaking after a meeting with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, he also disclosed that about $470 million is spent in Nigeria yearly for AIDS care, and that the essence of the US intervention is to prevent mother to child transmission of the disease, which is a huge problem in Sub-sahara Africa; adding that the aim is to reduce it from 27 per cent to two per cent.
12 to 17 states that are classified as worst hit will benefit from it.
Goosby who also noted that PEPFAR has been in Nigeria for many years, said “There are about 390,000 children that are born HIV positive every year in the whole world. 72,000 of those numbers come from Nigeria.”
He further disclosed that “We have been in Nigeria for many years. We spend about $470 million in Nigeria each year for AIDS care. Prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission is a huge problem in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are committed as you heard the leadership speak to you today to strengthen the exercise
in each state to make it easy for women to be HIV tested if they are pregnant and to get HIV tested even if they are not pregnant.
“This is to enable them refer those tested HIV positive into a medical system that makes sure that they are given anti-retroviral drugs that will take the chances of giving HIV positive to the baby to less than two per cent. Something of about 27 per cent that is likely to happen in an HIV woman without anti-retroviral drugs. If such woman is given an anti-retroviral drugs, it drops the chances of transmitting to the baby to less than 2 per cent from 27.
“This is something we can do. We need to it with the primary health care system that Mr President and Minister of Health are supporting in Nigeria and each state is trying to develop it in Nigeria. But we are
here to talk with the Nigerian leadership to understand how we can partner to move this forward.'”
Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano who chaired the meeting noted that said NGF gave its commitment to work with all partners both within and outside the country to ensure that there is zero transmission from mother to baby.
He also noted that the NGF Secretariat had been mandated to map out strategy that can be followed to achieve the desired results; adding that "our goal is to ensure that this country is free of HIV/AIDS".
On the monetary commitment, Kwakwanso said, "already the US government, the United Nations and
other stakeholders within and outside the country are bringing in resources. Also, the federal, state and local government are committing resources.”