FEDERAL Government on Tuesday, said it is deploying drones to deliver antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs in some states in order to minimise the spread and death rate of the HIV/AIDS within the affected communities.
Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Gambo Aliyu made this known at the 6th National Council of AIDS meeting held in Abuja.
Aliyu said even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency had succeeded in the distribution of Anti-Retroviral drugs in some states.
He said: “I would like to mention here that even in the face of COVID-19, Nigeria recorded its largest growth in HIV treatment numbers in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, initiating close to 300,000 people living with HIV on treatment in 2020, existing HIV/AIDS coordination platforms and community structures were strengthened to support the COVID-19 response.
“Some programme managers of the State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA) were engaged as Epidemiology officers, distribution of ART drugs was still ongoing using drones in some states in order to minimise death rate within the HIV/AIDS communities, and the NACA toll line was deployed for continuous sensitisation on proper hygiene, social distancing and answering frequent questions from the public.
“In line with programme sustainability, the HIV and AIDS response has witnessed and evolved over the years in ensuring Country Alignment Plan in all HIV and AIDS programmes. In view of this, there has been progress in the efforts to improve programme coordination through regular engagements with stakeholders and reintroduce the Joint Annual Programme Review process which will contribute to the sustained positive evaluations and results whilst advocating allocation of resources from state governments.
“Also, the re-emergence of the Nigeria Business Coalition against AIDS (NiBUCCA) and its renewed conversations with NACA led to the launch of the Private Sector-led HIV Trust Fund by President Muhammadu Buhari, which hopes to be a game-changer in the financing of the National HIV and AIDS Response.
“The country, in her strides, is moving towards HIV epidemic control and programme sustainability which is in line with global agenda and built on innovative approaches to exceed the 95:95:95 targets. We can all agree that achieving HIV epidemic control in Nigeria requires innovative thinking, good planning, and domestic resourcing for sustainability,” Aliyu said.