United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Mary Leonard has disclosed that her country donated over $6 billion to assist Nigeria in its fight against HIV/AIDS.
The Ambassador made the disclosure today, in her remarks at the United Nations House, Abuja.
Ms Leonard, while reflecting upon the success of Nigeria’s HIV response over the past 35 years said, when the country’s first case was reported in 1986, it marked the beginning of what appeared to be an unstoppable epidemic.
However, noting the current status of the country with regards to the disease, the Ambassador said:
“The launching of the New Dawn publication takes us back into history when an AIDS-Free generation seemed unimaginable. But today, we have come to celebrate that the impossible is possible and reaching HIV epidemic control is a reality for Nigeria!”, she
“The U.S. government through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has improved access to HIV treatment services to every corner of this country.
“We are most proud of how we reached this point together. Our key partnerships with the national and state governments, UNAIDS, and the Global Fund were instrumental in determining what systems and strategy we needed to gain traction and outpace HIV.
“Since 2003, the United States has contributed over $6 billion to strengthen the systems side of the equation to train and recruit hundreds of thousands of health workers, upgrade existing laboratories infrastructures to world class status and develop the most up-to-date data management and supply chain systems to advance the Government of Nigeria’s ability to deliver comprehensive HIV services.
“On current targeted strategy was based on the Ministry of Health’s highly successful population-based survey, the Nigerian AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS).
“The data we received allowed us to zoom in on reaching 95-95-95 goals as it informed our ART Surge strategy to target treatment for populations of unknown HIV status and enlist governors and religious and traditional leaders for state-level buy-in”, she said.
Ms. Leonard further stated that the result of the United States’ unprecedented achievement and journey was compiled in a book: “The result of our unprecedented achievement and journey with the Nigeria Government is what we celebrate today in this publication led by the UNAIDS country team.
“This publication recognizes the decisions that we have made together as individuals, institutions and bilateral partners, and salutes a few of the special individuals that have helped us to achieve this great success. We are proud of what we have done together, systematically, and strategically.
“The U.S. Government is proud to have collaborated with the Joint UN team and other stakeholders in documenting Nigeria’s journey thus far and we look forward to continued success on our path to an AIDS-free generation”, said the Ambassador.