Jonathan assures on Nigeria’s commitment to HIV/AIDS fight

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President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday in New York assured the international community of the commitment of the Nigerian government to reducing the rate of HIV infection in the country.

Addressing a press conference shortly after his speech at the United Nation’s High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, the President expressed hope that the prevalence rate of the pandemic in Nigeria which stood at 4.1 per cent last year as against 5.8 per cent in 2001, would further drop considerably by 2015.

“My Administration is determined to provide new impetus to the HIV/AIDS response by integrating the health sector into our development agenda,” Mr Jonathan said, adding that “from now until 2015, government will lead and coordinate the multi-sectoral implementation of our National Strategic Framework and Plan for HIV/AIDS.”

The President also said his Administration was targeting the elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV by 2015 while working with “the National Assembly for the allocation of at least 15 % of the federal budget for the health sector.”

Noting that insufficient funding and non-redemption of pledges by external donors remained of great concern, he also identified prevention of the virus, stigmatisation and discrimination as huge challenges that must be overcome in the fight against the disease.

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