Stakeholders in the country made this known during the pre-conference meeting on the Global Fund’s seventh replenishment with the theme ‘Nigeria’s call to fight what counts’ held in Abuja on Thursday.
According to them, the fund is needed to change the trajectories of mortality and incidence toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3 target of ending AIDS, TB, and malaria as epidemics by 2030.
The Punch reports that the United States of America will host the Global Fund’s Seventh Replenishment Conference on September 19, 2022 in New York City with a target of raising $18 billion targeted at saving 20 million lives globally from the impacts of HIV, TB, and malaria.
Speaking at the meeting, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said Nigeria aligns with Global Fund’s target to raise at least $18 billion for the 2023-2025 funding cycle to save 20 million lives and to reduce the mortality of HIV, TB, and malaria by 65 percent.
Dr. Ehanire, who was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Joseph Ekumankama said the fund will help get the world back on track toward ending HIV, TB, and malaria, especially for the most affected countries.
“Nigeria also remains committed to its contribution to the Fund. The investment case shows a gap of 20 percent or $28.4 billion. The Government of Nigeria recognises the necessity of progressive increment in our domestic financing for health, without which the goal of the investment case and 2030 health goals would be a mirage.”
He said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approved the National Health Insurance Authority Act, which provides for multiple and innovative strategies for raising revenue for health.
“This Act provides the legal framework for achieving universal health coverage in a sustainable manner using domestic resources. It will also cater for the vulnerable, ensuring no one is left behind. We are committed to fulfilling our obligations to the citizens by progressively investing in their health, education, and overall welfare.
“I seize this opportunity to solicit the commitment of all donor countries to increase funds available to the Global Fund through the 7th Replenishment Conference. The stakes are high. $18 billion is ambitious, yet this is the minimum funding that is required if the world is to make a difference in the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria.”
Also speaking, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, said over $3.8 billion has been mobilised and invested in Nigeria through the Global Fund.
He said “For this replenishment, we are looking to meeting the target in addition to what we have done for the last three years and we want to increase the target. Globally the target is aimed to be increased from $14 billion to $18 billion.
“Nigeria has contributed in the last replenishment with about $12 million and this time around we are hoping to see where we can go, whether we can match up to that or we can increase in addition to what we have done.
“We want to make sure that what we have started in the last three years continues. We reaffirm the government commitment with value for the resources of the investment made available.”
On his part, the Charge d’affaires, Embassy of the USA, David Greene, said despite insecurity, COVID-19, and a declining economic situation, HIV epidemic control, and an AIDS-Free generation is a reality for Nigeria because of access to HIV treatment services in the country.
Greene said “Our key partnerships with national and state governments, the Global Fund, and UNAIDS were instrumental in determining what systems and strategies were needed to gain traction and outpace HIV. Our programs are also anchored by data from Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey to guide implementation decisions and laser-focus efforts in areas with high unmet needs.
“Another key to this story is the national alignment which in 2019, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Global Fund, and the Government of Nigeria developed an alignment strategy focused on leveraging our comparative strengths and resources to deliver patient-centered HIV services in communities. By aligning technical and financial resources behind a single national program, we embarked on a surge effort to intensify case-finding, and rapidly expand access to antiretroviral treatment. The number of HIV-positive individuals identified and initiated on treatment during the surge doubled, even though it was the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no other country or HIV program in the world that can claim this unparalleled achievement.
“Today, over 1.8 million Nigerians with HIV are thriving and living productive lives because they are accessing lifesaving treatment. Our national alignment model is a best practice other countries are not only learning from but also adopting.
“Nonetheless, sustaining this success depends upon contributions to the Global Fund and all of us standing in solidarity to fight for what counts. We are close to the finish line, but with Nigeria still accounting for one out of seven children born globally with HIV, the race is not yet over.”