Ensure success of sustainability agenda on HIV/AIDS, NACA urges stakeholders

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, has urged stakeholders in the HIV and AIDS national response to brace up and ensure the success of the sustainability agenda of the country as Nigeria nears epidemic control of the disease.

Aliyu stated this during a meeting with development partners and other stakeholders involved in the fight to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

Stakeholders initiated the sustainability process to ensure Nigeria takes ownership and control of the HIV and AIDS national response when foreign funds cease.

The stakeholders have, however, been meeting for the past two years to ensure the implementation of the sustainability agenda and the new business model.

NACA in a press statement on Saturday said the agenda is an effective and efficient HIV response owned, driven, resourced and led by the people and the government of Nigeria at different levels, with support from her partners in line with the Paris Declaration 2005.

The NACA boss emphasised the urgent need to “identify sustainable structures that support health services across the federal and state institutions’’ for services integration as key to sustaining HIV response in the country.

He urged stakeholders to help accelerate the process to meet Nigeria’s timelines to end AIDS as a public health concern.

Meanwhile, he commended the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and other stakeholders.

He asserted that they have ‘done exceptionally well by the collective success Nigeria has recorded in HIV national response to date.

He explained that the meeting opens the critical discussions around how the HIV programme could be sustained and integrated into normal health services when the disease would be no longer an epidemic but endemic.

He disclosed that preceding the meeting, the agency made engagements at the political level, which involved the Federal Ministry of Health and its States’ counterpart, represented by the designated officials.

He also said further meetings will be more engaging as they will look at the best structures and strategies to integrate HIV treatment services into usual health services.

On her part, a Deputy Director at NACA, Dr Yewande  Olaifa, highlighted the processes and timeline in the agenda in a paper she presented at the meeting, titled, ‘Sustainability of the National HIV Response.’

Olaifa noted that, “The process is divided into two major phases. The first phase consists of the empowerment and transition of responsibilities to Federal and at least 12, private and community structures.

“Moreover, there would be a restructuring of support services from direct service delivery to technical assistance to Federal and state-level structures by implementing partners and others. This will be followed by the second phase where at least 25 states would be engaged.

“The last phase of the agenda will purely involve continuous evaluation and support with required technical assistance to federal and state structures.”

Aliyu added that stakeholders would agree on certain modalities before the project takes off finally.

“Besides there is specific room for training those who would be involved in implementing the project in terms of fiscal management and accountability. This will enable them to know specific areas they will render account to the National Coordination,” he said

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