By Patience Ihejirika, Abuja –
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday expressed commitment to increasing the 2018 budgetary provision to the health sector, considering the huge financial requirements for health including HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
Buhari, who made the pledge at the commemoration event of the 2018 World AIDS Day in Abuja, also affirmed that procurement of health commodities from foreign sources is not sustainable for a country with a huge disease burden like Nigeria.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Barr. Boss Mustapha, the president therefore assured that the federal government is working with relevant stakeholders to provide an enabling environment to promote the local manufacture of health commodities that meet global standards.
“As we hope to increase local resources for health in the coming years, it is important to establish effective accountability frameworks for the efficient use of resources,” he stated.
According to him, the burden of HIV on women, young people and babies born with HIV in the country and in sub-Saharan Africa remains a clog in the wheel of region’s socio-economic development.
Recall that President Buhari recently joined world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters to discuss the issue of domestic funding to fight HIV/AIDS, where he pledged to commit more resources to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Demonstrating this commitment, the president had directed an additional 50,000 persons be placed on ARV annually starting from 2018, in addition to about 60,000 persons already being catered for in Abia and Taraba states.
In his welcome remarks, the Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Sani Aliyu, regretted that the rate of mother to child transmission of HIV in the country is still unacceptably high while stressing the need to do more at the federal and state levels to take ownership of HIV/AIDS response and close these gaps.
“If we must take our response to the next level, we must address the challenges related to our health system infrastructure, unmet need for commodities, data quality and human resource for health and funding,” he said.