The Federal Government on Tuesday expressed optimism that COVID-19 would soon be a thing of the past in Nigeria as two vaccines under trial have more than 90 per cent efficacy to end the disease.
The government also charged states to fully implement Social Health Insurance Schemes with the integration of HIV prevention and treatment services.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID – 19, Boss Mustapha, stated this during an event held in Abuja to commemorate the 2020 World AIDS Day with the theme, ‘Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.’
The SGF also appealed to the private sector to support the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the Nigerian Business Coalition against AIDS for a sustained access to life-saving medicines, vaccines and diagnostics.
He said, “As Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, we have consciously taken steps to ensure that as a country our citizens do the needful to avoid being infected or infecting others with COVID-19 and with two vaccines under trial potentially having more than 90 per cent efficacy, I believe that ultimately there will be ” light at the end of the tunnel.”
According to him, the theme of the 2020 World AIDS Day was remarkable, adding that “drawing from this, it is also very apt that Nigeria has chosen as theme: “United to end AIDS in the midst of COVID – 19: Get tested”.
Mustapha said, “Nigeria as a country aligns fully with the global solidarity and shared responsibility which requires us to view global health responses, including the AIDS response, in a new way.”
The Director-General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, said “self-testing for HIV is now a reality in Nigeria.”
He said, “Last year, 44,830 Nigerians were estimated to have died from HIV/AIDS. We have spent $6.2bn to identify and treat 70 per cent of the estimated 1,080,000 Persons Living with HIV and $1.2bn of this was from domestic sources.”