President Muhammadu Buhari has complained that unavailability of accurate data has been constituting a huge obstacle to the country’s ability to accessing HIV/AIDS global grants.
The President expressed his displeasure during the launching of the National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), in Abuja.
President Buhari said the new survey scheme will give a reliable estimate of the current status and spread of HIV, Hepatitis B and C through the 36 states of the federation including the capital territory.
He said, “despite spending these resources, coverage and access to persons living with HIV remains a challenge, leading to wastage of HIV commodities.
“The importance of accurate data on HIV is very crucial for sustainable solutions on HIV/AIDS. The lack of data on HIV epidemic has also compounded the country’s ability to compete for HIV global grants,
The President assured the current administration is committed to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Also speaking at the event was The Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).
He said, “There is no doubt we have an HIV problem in Nigeria. We have the second largest HIV burden in the world with about 3.2million people living with the virus. We estimate about 600 Nigerians are infected with HIV and about 400 Nigerians die from this infection daily.
“Almost two-thirds of all new HIV infections in West and Central Africa occurred in Nigeria in 2016. We also contribute the largest number of HIV-infected babies in the world – one in every four babies born with HIV in the world in 2016 was a Nigerian child.”
Aliyu observed that “the number of persons on life-saving medications has increased from about 100,000 to just over a million and the number of hospitals providing HIV/AIDS treatment sites has increased more than 10-fold, yet the epidemic burden has remained the same. We are making progress but it’s painful and slow because we are not sure where we should be looking.”
He further added: “As more resources are put into the programme, the cost of finding a person living with HIV has also increased. Perhaps, this is the more reason why we need to have more precise estimates not only to determine the epidemic burden but measure the impact of our current interventions in order to plan more effectively, especially in this era of huge budget cuts and uncertain donor resources.”