We wish to call on the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, to procure more test kits to prevent deaths of pregnant women and babies, as a result of mother to child transmission of HIV in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN’s 90-90-90 vision for 2030 entails 90 percent test, 90 percent awareness of status, and 90 percent treatment, but as it is, only 44 percent of pregnant women had access to AntiRetroviral Therapy (ART) in 2019.
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This percentage is poor, and mother to child transmission of HIV accounts for 90 percent new HIV infections in children, making Nigeria first in paediatric infections.
We, therefore, reiterate the call for the minister to procure test kits, since Nigeria was not on track with the UN vision 90-90-90 for 2020.
Prevention of mother to child programmes in Nigeria are characterised with poor ownership and funding.
For the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV, especially within COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical to achieve high AntiRetroviral Therapy (ART) coverage for positive mothers.
In 2019, it is only 44 percent of positive pregnant women started antiretroviral therapy.
Nigeria is not on track in attaining UNAID’s 90-90-90 vision for the elimination of AIDS by 2020.
This is to emphasise the need to procure test kits at this time of global health emergency, in accordance with the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative, supported by the World Bank.
We therefore call on the minister of health to utilise the huge amount of money under its custody by the World Bank for Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) under the Saving One Million Lives (SOML) initiative.
We would be forced to take necessary action if the ministry failed to procure test kits for the 36 States of the federation and the FCT.
Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN)