Dr. Sunday Aboje, National Coordinator, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, has said that Nigeria is still home to the highest number of children living with HIV/AIDS worldwide.
Dr Aboje spoke at the opening of a three-day communication strategic review workshop by Journalists Alliance for Prevention of Mother to Child transmission of HIV (JAPIN) in Calabar, Cross River State, on Tuesday.
Aboje stated that currently, 380,000 children are HIV positive in the country, adding that Nigeria is committed to the goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children and keeping their mothers alive by 2020.
The NASCAP coordinator declared: “Nigeria has the second highest global burden of HIV/AIDS and also contributes the largest proportion of new vertically acquired HIV infections among children.
“The country has come a long way in its effort to control the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly in PMTCT. Beginning with the pioneer 11 PMTCT-provider tertiary health facilities in 2002, the country now has 7,265 health facilities providing PMTCT services at all levels of the health care system.”
Aboje, however, stated that Nigeria’s target on eliminating new HIV cases in children among other things for 2018 was to ensure 50 percent of HIV-exposed children have access to HIV prophylaxis treatment and early infant diagnosis services.
He also declared that funding, inadequate political commitment, and funding at state and LGA levels, weak health infrastructure as well as inadequate engagement of the private health sector as some challenges against eliminating new HIV cases in children.