The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has concluded plans to commence the implementation of the second phase of support for faith-based organizations response to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
The first phase, which was the mobilisation of the faith-based community led to the setting up of the National Faith-based working group and the development of a robust faith-based HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2018 to 2022.
NACA is the leading and coordinator for the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative.
The Director General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, who was represented by the Deputy Director in the agency, Dr. Chigozie Ujam, during a virtual meeting stated that phase two activities were a continuation of the first cycle and include: Stigma reduction and human rights, HIV and Gender Based Violence/Human trafficking in humanitarian and conflict-affected areas.
Others are pediatric HIV, adherence counselling and referral mechanisms, coordination and capacity strengthening and lastly HIV and COVID-19 risk communication, social mobilization and psychosocial support.
Representatives of faith-based organisations in attendance promised to ensure that the goals of the initiative were achieved. They said that all the mobilised mosques, churches and related organisations across the 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were ready to cooperate with NACA, UNAIDS and PEPFAAR to judiciously use the funds that would be disbursed for the various activities.
A statement from NACA said the implementing partners were also advised not to rely solely on the very limited available funds for the second phase of the initiative but look for innovative ways to mobilize resources which could help expand and sustain faith-based HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria.
The initiative is to be implemented in eight African countries: Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
“A total of $4 million is being provided by both UNAIDS and PEPFAR for the initiative and it will run for two years,” the statement said.