BY Victoria Ogunrinde
First Lady of Nigeria, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Buhari on Tuesday charged health authorities to remember that they are obligated to reduce any potential risk to the HIV community as funding, researchers and healthcare diverted to COVID-19.
Mrs. Aisha while speaking in Abuja at an event to commemorate the World AIDS Day, 2020, said it is essential that health services remain available to people living with and affected by HIV.
The first lady who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on African First Ladies, Dr. Mrs. Mairo Almakura noted that no other epidemic has received as much global attention and support like HIV in the past two decades.
“Even though we are not there yet, we have indeed travelled a long distance from where we started.”
Mrs. Buhari, as an UNAIDS HIV champion, said she advocates for the eradication of mother to child transmission of HIV in Nigeria and she has mobilised the support of Governors wives to do the same at the state level adding that she has also mobilized her team at Future Assured to collaborate with NACA on the inclusion of HIV services during the MNCH weeks.
Meanwhile, she noted that a joint initiative by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, African countries and international organizations has led a three-year health promotion and HIV prevention advocacy among young people to ensure that HIV/AIDS is eradicated by 2030.
Also speaking at the event, the President of National Council for Women Societies, Mrs. Gloria Laraba Shoda, highlighted the possibility of higher rates of HIV for women due to gender based violence exacerbated by the increased rates of insurgency, banditry, cattle rustling and domestic violence due to the COVID 19 pandemic thus called for concerted effort to ensure that this is prevented from happening.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of certificates to winners of the essay competition on HIV/AIDS.