The Nigerian government on Friday launched a comprehensive national strategic plan to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic in line with the 2030 global target.
The unveiling ceremony for the National Strategic Plan (NSP 2023-2027), in commemoration of the 2023 World AIDS Day, in the capital city of Abuja, brought together government officials, health experts, activists, and representatives from various international organizations.
The event is seen as a platform to emphasize the importance of collaborative efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to underscore Nigeria’s determination to create a healthier and more resilient society.
Speaking at the ceremony, George Akume, secretary to the Nigerian government, said the new document highlights the government’s key strategy for sustainability and country ownership of the response to HIV.
Akume noted that the strategic plan fully outlined a multi-faceted approach while focusing on prevention, treatment, care, and support, with a specific emphasis on reaching vulnerable populations. The plan also incorporates measures to reduce stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, promoting an inclusive and supportive environment for those affected.
During the launch ceremony, Minister of Health Ali Pate also highlighted the significance of the strategic plan and its potential impact on the nation’s public health landscape.
The plan includes initiatives to enhance HIV testing and counselling services, ensuring widespread access to antiretroviral therapy, and intensifying efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission, Pate said.
Community engagement and awareness campaigns will be strengthened to promote safe practices and reduce the stigma associated with the virus, the official said.
Nigeria has the world’s second-highest burden of HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 3 million people living with HIV, according to UNICEF.