3.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

3.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria

Postby Richard Akindele » Sun May 28, 2006 3:19 pm

THE ravaging Human Immune Deficiency Syndrome, HIV, and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS, is devastating the country's younger generation. Unless an urgent solution in the form of pragmatic healthcare provision is instituted, the nation might soon be bugged down by avoidable HIV/AIDS affliction.

Ayalew Abai, United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, representative at the 2006 Children's Day celebration in Abuja said that "young people represent the most afflicted group, as one in 20 young people, aged 20-29 years old, is infected by the dreaded disease." Almost 1.8 million out of a total of 3.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria are children.

More disturbing is the revelation that only very few pregnant women who are infected by HIV/AIDS in the country have access to good medicare to prevent transmission to their unborn babies. This discovery is scary and deserves urgent steps if the country is not to risk the future health of its population.

The children are the future trustees of the nation's posterity. They are expected to take over from the older generation which means they need sound health to be able to effectively achieve this purpose. Any nation with a sick youth population has a stalled future as a largely sick citizenry especially with a terminal disease like HIV/AIDS is a dead country. Some of these children are already orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

This should not be the portion of the country provided there is serious official attempt to nip the problem in the bud and a practical demonstration of self discipline in the sex life of citizens. Not all HIV/AIDS victims contract the disease through sex. Some unlucky ones got it through unsterilised needles and syringes. Something has to be done in this regard. Presently, the country has 200 health sites for treating HIV/AIDS patients. Compared to the 60 sites of previous year, this is an improvement but when correlated with the almost four million people living with HIV/AIDS, it is inconsequential - perhaps, a drop in the ocean.

It is in this light that we condemn the National Action Council on AIDS, NACA, for its poor documentation, which resulted in Nigeria losing foreign funding worth $150 million. Other reasons for the withdrawal was that only 23 per cent of the funds was utilised and the country's failure to demonstrate sufficient capacity to counter mother to child transmission.

We need to do more for ourselves as a nation and to show care for those suffering from these ailments. These treatment sites should be increased while treatment of those mothers involved should be free as majority of them cannot foot the high medical bill, or purchase expensive drugs for the management of HIV/AIDS. The nation cannot afford to look on while things get worse in this regard.

Source: Vanguard
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Nigeria to Access $180m from Global Funds

Postby Richard Akindele » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:13 pm

Determined to support the community of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and to restate partnership with Nigeria, the Global Funds is to release the sum of $180m to Nigeria for the control and treatment of HIV/AIDS victims in the country.
To facilitate the funds, the Federal Government has commenced negotiations with the UN organ to determine the terms of reference and duration of the funds.
Chairman of the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin gave this indication during an interaction with journalists in Abuja at the weekend.
According to Osotimehin, Nigeria is to access the funds under the 5th round of grants to the country by Global Funds. He said to maintain set targets and for monitoring purposes, the Global Funds has appointed a new country coordinating mechanism (CCM) head.
He is Dr. Jerome Mafeni, country chief of party for the ENHANSE group. He takes over from Dr. Nassidi of the federal ministry of health.
Prof. Osotimehin who stressed that the award of the $180m is for a period of 5 years, explained that NACA as a government agency has no direct access to the funds. He said as part of checks system, the face of control measures put in place by the donor organ, only the CCM and not NACA has access to the different rounds of funds.
Also within the 5th round of grants, the NACA boss said Nigeria through negotiations by the Federal Government is to benefit a total of $68m for the management of tuberculosis. He stressed that due to the enormity of the challenges posed by diseases such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, Nigeria needs support from development partners, adding that no nation can handle such problems alone.
He said for effective implementation of policies and release of aids, local government as well as state authorities should play their own part. He urged members of the civil society to wake up to the responsibility of checkmating the local and state authorities in the implementation of set goals regarding HIV/AIDS.The NACA boss restated the commitment of the FG to ensure that all Nigerians who require free treatment and care receive same without difficulty, adding that the bottlenecks responsible for delayed start during the round one segment of the Global Funds grant have been identified.

Source: thisday
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Prostitution rife in Nigerian capital as AIDS rates soar

Postby Richard Akindele » Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:30 am

Nigeria has more than 1 million female sex workers and as many as 7 million people with HIV/AIDS, according to nongovernmental organizations. The fight against HIV/AIDS was a key topic at a four-day Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja that opened on Friday, Dec. 5 and brought together leaders from 52 mainly former British colonies.

Abuja alone has more than 15,000 prostitutes. Although no formal research has been done on HIV/AIDS prevalence in the city, nongovernmental groups say the infection rate is "incredibly high" since Nigerian men tend to shun condoms.

Irene Patrick, head of Women's Health Education Development, said there are three levels of prostitutes in Nigeria: high-class call girls who earn about $100 for sex; mid-range prostitutes who work in urban brothels and earn about $3 for sex; and village prostitutes who charge a few cents for sex and sometimes have sex with as many as 14 men a night. "We have estimated that about 2 percent of Nigeria's female population are poverty-stricken prostitutes," Patrick said. "Women are attracted to the money in the cities, but have to have sex to earn it — this is probably a large reason why the HIV infection rate is so high."

Nigeria's government has put up large billboards on the side of Abuja's main road to urge people to "stop the spread of AIDS," and newspapers cover the topic extensively.

"It is unbelievable at this stage of the disease, but many sex workers in Abuja say that their clients are ignorant about AIDS and refuse to use condoms," Patrick said. "We do find that educating prostitutes is quite effective, because they tend to pass on their knowledge to their clients."

[Source: CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update 12/15/03]
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Nigeria - 3rd highest number of HIV cases in the world

Postby Richard Akindele » Wed Jul 19, 2006 11:47 am

Nigeria has the third highest number of HIV-positive people in the world

Nigeria is rolling out anti-AIDS drugs to a growing number of people living with HIV/AIDS, but getting hold of the medication is still a major struggle for those living outside key urban centres.

According to the National Consolidated Treatment Report by the National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Programme (NASCP), Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, has 11 ARV facilities, while the capital, Abuja, has 12. But many other states with higher caseloads of infection sometimes only have three distribution points, while most have only one outlet.

Oba Oladapo, of the lobby group, Treatment Action Movement (TAM), pointed out that Oyo State, one of the largest in the country, has just a solo treatment site. "What has been happening is that people living with HIV in some parts of the state like Shaki, a border town, have to travel for about three to four hours to access treatment in Ibadan, the state capital."

An estimated 72,650 people were receiving antiretroviral drugs at 75 distribution sites by June 2006, up from 33 sites in 2005.

A breakdown of the figures revealed that 29,000 patients were benefiting from the national ARV rollout, while the rest were receiving anti-AIDS medication from NGOs and projects funded by the US government.

NASCP warned that treatment efforts were being hindered by the duplication of activities by NGOs and the government, which tended to be largely concentrated in key urban areas.

Omolulu Falobi, executive director of Journalists against AIDS Nigeria, raised concerns about the lack of coordination in treating HIV-positive people. "The implication is that we may not get a total picture of who is doing what."

Although the government was providing ARVs free of charge, the cost of monitoring tests were also a major obstacle to people seeking treatment.

Falobi welcomed the progress made, but cautioned that the country with the third highest caseload of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world still fell short of reaching "the ten percent target - of about 500,000 - out of our HIV population".

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks.
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