As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day, observers have expressed the fact that the country should plan adequately and be committed to fulfilling related promises and goals that will ensure improved health care for proper well-being of the citizenry, particularly women and children.
HIV & AIDS are part of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted at the United Nations summit held from 25 to 27 September, 2015 in New York. The Goal 3 seeks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages by grouping together HIV & AIDS, maternal newborn and child health, tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.
The Sustainable Development Goal 3 also shows that HIV & AIDS, maternal mortality, child morality and other diseases are related to the well-being of the people. It targets an end to the epidemics of AIDS by 2030 and seeks to reduce maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births from about 576 per 100,000 according to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2013.
President of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria (SOGON), Prof Brian Adinma, at the just concluded 9th international congress, said Nigeria did not perform well in the MDGs 4 and 5. According to him, there is a need to re-strategise under the new development agenda of the SDGs.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed more than 34 million lives so far. According to the health organisation, about 1.2 million people died from HIV-related causes globally while sub-Saharan Africa is the most affected region, with about 25.8 million people living with HIV in 2014.
Consequently, the NOTAGAIN Campaign urges the federal government of Nigeria to use the opportunity presented by the World AIDS Day 2015 to improve the health sector by increasing budgetary allocations to the sector, implementing the National Health Act 2014, and training of skilled health workers. There is also a need to employ and motivate health workers for improved health outcomes, adds the campaign.
In order to achieve the SDGs, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), has advocated for more investment, commitment and accelerated innovation towards reducing the AIDS epidemic.
Similarly, the WHO has urged nations to act more boldly. “Achieving these targets will require bold action, with the health sectors of nations around the world playing a central role,” says Dr Winnie Mpanju-Shumbusho, WHO Assistant Director General for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases.