By Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu has disclosed plans by the agency to establish the Nigerian HIV/AIDS Trust Fund.
Speaking at the 4th National Council on AIDS meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, Aliyu said NACA has commenced the process of establishing the Fund as part of its implementation of the recommendations from the last Council meeting.
Nigeria, just as a number of other developing countries are increasingly confronted with donor fatigue and the frequent calls for them to seek means of fully funding their response to HIV/AIDS.
Recall also that Aliyu said during the 2017 World AIDS Day Celebration, that government will be needing about N150 billion annually to provide Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART).
The NACA D.G further explained that the agency was working towards the implementation of the 0.5 percent to 1 percent of annual budgetary allocation to HIV by states , a consensus reached during the National Economic Council meeting under the chairmanship of Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
“The theme of the 2018 National Council on AIDS Meeting, ‘making our money go further improving efficiency of HIV service delivery’ is apt relevant and timely, given the enormity of our resourcing challenges”, Aliyu said.
In her remarks, Country Coordinator of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Shirley Dady, called on the Federal Government to take full control of HIV programme at all levels.
“From our perspective, there are several reasons why this may be a positive development. First, a more efficient programme will be more sustainable, secondly, it will be more cost effective once the government of Nigeria takes over the programme at all levels and thirdly, we will be able to locate and place 150,000 more people living with HIV in life saving treatment in the coming year which is, of course, our overarching goal,” Dady said.
Also speaking during the meeting, Country Director of UNIADS, Erasmus Morah, stressed the need for Nigeria to adopt proactive measures.
“If you want the money to go further, start by knowing who is paying the bills and how much they are actually paying. You will own the response the day you pay the bill. The figure we have out there will tell you that about 90 per cent of the commodity on HIV is secured with donor money, which is something that is to be addressed.
“We are told that, of the one million Nigerians that are on treatment, 95 per cent of them are paid for by donors. In Nigeria, about 70 per cent of all health expenditure comes from pocket, which is something you cannot run away from,” he said.