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NACA, U.S GOVERNMENT HONOUR HIV HEROES
The National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) has honoured 16 distinguished Nigerian women for their contributions to the HIV epidemic control in Nigeria.
The heroes were identified by United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) as part of the commemoration of PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary,
Speaking at an event to celebrate the heroes, the Director General of NACA, Sani Aliyu said the award is a reflection of teamwork and should encourage everyone to work harder to stop the spread of the virus.
“This award reflects teamwork. It reflects what we really should be doing coming to HIV response. It is also an opportunity for us to commit to work even harder to make sure that we stop having new HIV infections and also stop people from dying from HIV,” he said
Dr. Aliyu noted that PEPFAR has contributed tremendously towards HIV response in Nigeria.
He said that the US organisation contributes about $400m every year to fight HIV in Nigeria.
“PEPFAR have been supporting the country for about 15years, it has invested tremendous amount of money in the HIV response.80 percent of the people on treatment are courtesy of PEPFAR. Every year, PEPFAR invest close to $400m,” he said.
The DG also urged the awardees to see the honour as a commitment to do more towards HIV response.
He said “On behalf government, we say that this award is a wakeup call for us to do more and move to the next stage. We will make sure that our programs reflect the amount of resources going into it and we are able to show value for me,” he said
Also speaking at an event held to honor the awardees, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington said, the awardees, drawn from People Living with HIV, Civil Society, government, and private citizens, are all persons who have made sacrifices and committed themselves to serve those affected by HIV and AIDS.
“In the face of the epidemic, they have provided outstanding leadership, fought against the stigma and discrimination that impedes HIV service uptake, offered innovations, and made great sacrifices for the greater good,” he said.
He said “PEPFAR is the U.S. government’s response to the global HIV/AIDS epidemic and represents the largest commitment in history, by any nation, to address a single disease.
In Nigeria alone, the U.S. Government has invested more than $5 billion in the national HIV/AIDS response.
One of the honourees, Mr. Tobore Ovuorie, an Independent journalist and reseacher, said the award was a great honor and a call to do more than he has been doing.
“Nigeria still has a lot to do. When we look at where we are coming from and where we are right now in terms of people accessing treatment, I think we are doing well. However, there is always room for more to done. We all need to come together and work towards the goal,” She said.