Sidibe, Goosby Meet With Leaders In Nigeria To Promote Country’s Fight Against HIV/AIDS
During a joint visit to Nigeria this week, UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe and Ambassador Eric Goosby, U.S. global AIDS coordinator,Â encouraged the country to rampÂ up its efforts to fight HIV/AIDS, Pana/Afrique en ligne reports. At a Monday gathering with Acting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Sidibe appealed for Nigeria to “use its position to influence African Union’s Declaration on prevention of Mother to Child transmission of HIV/AIDS,” according to the news service. Also during the gathering, Goosby emphasized the U.S. commitment to a partnership with the Nigerian government to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS (2/23).
“According to UNAIDS, there are nearly three million people living with HIV in Nigeria â€“ second only to South Africa on the continent â€“ with about 1,000 new infections every day,” U.N. News Centre writes. “The agency noted that there is a growing demand for access to treatment and prevention services within Nigeria, which can only be met by strengthening the current partnership between global, national and local partners” (2/23).
Sidibe and Goosby also had the opportunity to meet withÂ Nigerian Health Minister Babatunde Osotimehin, who “commended UNAIDS for mobilizing the participation of non-governmental organizations, faith-based entities and the private sector to support the national AIDS response,” according to U.N. News Centre. “This has helped us gain momentum in rolling out access to services,” Babtunde said. “We still have challenges. We are aware that resources are limited, but we must meet the expectations of the people we have mobilized.”
The article examines the challenges Nigeria faces in trying to meet the growing demand for HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention services and possible solutions to “promoting universal access that is sustainable” (2/23).
NBF News reports Goosby met with government officials and community leaders to outline “his vision for PEPFAR and the next five years of the program and explore opportunities to strengthen U.S./Nigeria partnership regarding the HIV/AIDS programme so as to ensure a sustainable, long-term response” (Ejiogu, 2/21).
As of September 2009, PEPFAR has helped “community outreach programs promoting Abstinence, Being Faithful, Correct and Consistent Use of Condoms (ABC), and other related preventive strategies” to reach more than 39 million people, according to a U.S. Embassy Nigeria press release. “Similarly, about 4.5 million people have been reached with HIV counseling and testing services.” PEPFAR funds have also helped more than 1.5 million pregnant women to receive therapy to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and provide antiretroviral therapy for an estimated 290,000Â adults and childrenÂ living with HIV (2/19).