President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday launched a N62.1 billion Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) fund at the state house in Abuja.
The fund was launched to improve efforts towards sustaining the country’s HIV response, addressing killer diseases and public health emergencies.
President Buhari, however, said he was hopeful that the private sector-led initiative will surpass the N62billion target in the next five years, in order to adequately provide requisite treatment for HIV-positive mothers while contributing to closing the funding gap for HIV in Nigeria.
The private sector-led funding for the HIV Trust fund of Nigeria is expected to crystalise a sustainable financial mechanism for the mobilisation and deployment of domestic private sector resources, particularly aimed at preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the country.
According to the Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Ms Winnie Byanyima, a total of 1.7 million Nigerians are living with HIV, while 1.6 million of that figure are on treatment.
Byanyima further noted that there is an urgent need to scale up domestic funding as Nigeria leads with the highest number of HIV infections among children.
She said although the COVID-19 has pushed back intervention on the pandemic, ending AIDS is not just a moral but an economic imperative.