Monday, July 15, 2013

President Goodluck Jonathan launches new HIV/AIDS response plan

Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has launched a new, special purpose programme Tagged the "President's Comprehensive Response Plan"(PCRP). PCRP is targeted at achieving universal access to the prevention, treatment, care and support for all Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS. And also to promote greater responsibility and accountability for HIV/AIDS responses at national and sub-national levels.

According to a National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) 3.4 million Nigerians are living with HIV/AIDS.

Launching the new programme in Abuja yesterday, during the Abuja +12 Special Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other related infectious diseases, the President said the initiative was a demonstration of Nigeria's commitment to the Abuja Declaration 2001.

"The government of Nigeria realizes that HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other infectious diseases pose a significant threat to human and economic development. We have developed this plan to accelerate the implementation of key interventions with respect to HIV/AIDS.

"This programme will help us bridge existing service gaps, address key financial, system and coordination challenges in current HIV/AIDS response systems. I have also directed the immediate development of a new and creative framework for sustainable financing of health to meet the targeted objectives," the President stated.

Addressing delegates at the meeting with the theme: "Ownership, Accountability and Sustainability of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Response in Africa: Past, Present and the Future", the President observed that Africa made significant progress towards reduction of the incidence of the diseases during the intervening years since the national benchmarks of the Abuja Declaration of 2001 and the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment in 2006.

"As commendable and encouraging as these achievements are, our continent is still far from attaining all the targets to sufficiently secure the well-being of their country and their future.

"To consolidate our progress in addressing the heavy burden with increased urgency, develop a stronger, home grown, sustainable health financing framework, we must take ownership of the process, and drive its implementation.

Executive Director of the UNFPA,
Professor Babatunde
Oshotimehin, who delivered a
speech on behalf of the UN
Secretary General Bank Kimon,
observed that strong leadership
had been the key to the Africa's
successes in the HIV/AIDS
campaign over the years.

"It began with the political
commitments outlined in the
original Abuja agreements that
generated a low of funds from
within Africa and the
international community;
scientific advances have also
played a major role, along with
the commitments of health
workers continent-wide.

"Before the 2001 Abuja
Declaration, HIV treatment in
Africa was almost non-existent.
Just 11 years later, 7.5 million
people were receiving
antiretroviral therapy. Yet HIV/
AIDS, TB, malaria and other
infectious diseases still pose a
significant threat to well-being
and development in sub-
Saharan Africa.

"Less than 1,000 days remain
until the MDG deadline. The
Goals are in sight, but much still
needs to be done. Let us heed
the warnings of history. Failure
to maintain momentum can halt
and even reverse progress.

"My call at Abuja+12 is for
renewed leadership and
increased domestic and
international funding – new
investment in improved tests
and drugs, stronger services to
deliver them," the Secretary
General stated.

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