Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (FMoH&SW) has reiterated its support towards protecting persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and every Nigerian against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.
The director of public health, FMoH&SW, Dr Anyaike Chukwuma, gave the assurance during the first annual APIN Public Health Initiative Symposium, themed “Integrating Non-Communicable Diseases and HIV to ensure long, and quality lives for persons living with HIV(PLHIV),” in Abuja.
Chukwuma stated that while there are evidences of the positive impact of antiretroviral drugs, PLHIVS stand risks of developing non-communicable diseases.
“From what we are doing here it shows the positive impact of antiretroviral drugs is working and it is prolonging life expectedly. We are going to have most of them coming up with non-communicable diseases“, he said.
He emphasised the need to combat NCDs, adding that the diseases are trying to be at par with communicable diseases even while the country is grappling with the latter.
“The theme of this symposium is apt, especially now that the country is running towards a double burden country” , he said.
On her part, the special adviser to the president on health, Dr Salma Anas, commended APIN for the integration initiative, highlighting that the initiative has the potential to help Nigeria come close to attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage (UHC).
“Recently experts have exposed the potential of integration of HIV with NCDs to help expand coverage of health for PLHIV with NCDs, and address risk of developing NCDs especially in low income countries which includes Nigeria,“ Anas said.
She also urged stakeholders’ collaboration and partnership as most of the integration procedures happen at the sub national level.
“The mechanism also to ensure that development partners, civil society organisations (CSOs) are carried along at the sub-national level remains very important towards maximum impact with the available limited resources,” she said.
APIN Public Health initiatives’ CEO, Dr Prosper Okonkwo, said the country should ensure quality lives for people with HIV regardless of co-morbid conditions.
Okonkwo said that over the years, APIN’s commitment to quality HIV programming has continuously evolved to address the health priorities of its clients.
He, however, said it was critical to monitor and evaluate the integration delivery of HIV and NCDs services, to determine the impact of integration on the quality of care.