Your excellency, President Buhari, the Honorable Minister of Health, and colleagues, permit me to stand on existing protocols.
It is an honor to join you to celebrate the 17 years of partnership between the Nigeria and The Global Fund. The U.S. government applauds The Global Fund for its allocation of $890 million to the people of Nigeria for the fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.
We see the Government of Nigeria’s recent contributions to The Global Fund as an important sign of commitment to end all three diseases and to ensuring a healthy and prosperous Nigeria. This launch lays down another milestone on the road to building resilient and sustainable health systems in Nigeria.
We hope that the achievements made in Nigeria in the fight against HIV, TB, and Malaria with the support from The Global Fund inspire and motivate health workers and other partners alike. The U.S. government believes in and buys into the mandate of The Global Fund as its largest single donor to date.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is proud of our close and productive partnership with The Global Fund. We are taking it to the next level with an alignment of our respective HIV resources behind the Ministry of Health and the National AIDS Control Agency. The National Alignment, led by the government, maximizes the comparative advantage of each donor – thereby eliminating inefficiencies and increasing transparency and effectiveness of our collective efforts.
President, epidemic control of HIV is within reach. The PEPFAR program, through its implementing partners, achieved a major benchmark in our fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria with support and lifesaving antiretroviral treatment for over 1.2 million patients in the national HIV treatment program. Most notably, the program identified and put over 350,000 new patients on treatment over the past year despite the COVID-19 epidemic. The active support of our partners, NACA and SACAs, governors in high burden states, and changes to our service delivery models driven by COVID-19 has built the momentum we need to win the fight.
In all of our battles against disease, we need to acknowledge the important role that people living with them play in the overall success of Nigeria’s national disease programs. Civil society organizations through Community Led Monitoring (CLM) are increasing the capacity of affected communities and organizations to ensure all partners, sites, and donors are held accountable for quality HIV programming, thereby sharing ownership in success.
Together with the government, our partners, and the courageous people living with HIV, we are rapidly closing the gap in reaching epidemic control by 2022. This is something I never thought I would see when we started the campaign against HIV during my first tour in Nigeria twenty years ago. After we succeed in controlling the disease, we will be counting on the National Alignment and Community Led Monitoring to ensure the sustainability of HIV programs in Nigeria.
Today is a banner day in the fight against HIV, TB, and malaria, thanks to The Global Fund’s continued commitment to Nigeria! Happy 17th Anniversary!