Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has called for stronger collaboration among all stakeholders to eradicate the HIV pandemic in Nigeria and end the unenviable record of having the second largest HIV epidemic in the world.
Sanwo-Olu, who made this call today while unveiling the South-West Zonal Office of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in Lagos State, said there is an urgent need for stakeholders to review strategies and deepen partnerships in the area of advocacy and expansion of access to care, treatment, and support for those living with the epidemic.
“Let us move forward in a bold, new spirit of partnership to overcome the cycle of HIV transmission and deliver health and wellbeing for all”, he stated.
The Governor, represented by the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, explained that the recently released report of national and sub-national incidence rates which indicate a reduction in the prevalence of the disease is a testament to the efforts of all stakeholders.
“The progress made so far in ending this epidemic would not have been possible without dynamic advocacy, solidarity and a spirit of shared responsibility which must be maintained”, Sanwo-Olu said.
He, however, noted that a lot of work still needs to be done to ensure further significant reduction as Nigeria still has an unenviable record of having the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infections in sub-Saharan Africa.
While noting that the establishment of the NACA Zonal office in Lagos will bring the services of NACA closer to the people, particularly stakeholders and partners, Sanwo-Olu averred that the office will enhance NACA’s monitoring and coordination functions in the drive to reduce the prevalence of HIV.
“The decision to locate the South West Office of NACA in Lagos, I believe is in recognition of the commitment and dedication of our government in eradicating the virus through the activities of the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA). More importantly, this decision is consistent with the recent classification of Lagos State as one of the locations of interest in the fight against the menace of HIV/AIDS”, the Governor said.
Sanwo-Olu maintained that the present administration is willing and ready to further deepen partnership with NACA to achieve the collective goal of eradicating the HIV pandemic through various actions in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and project 90:90:90.
Speaking earlier, the Director-General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu said the new Zonal Office will oversee the coordination of NACA’s activities in the South-West Zone and provide effective oversight of the Agency’s activities in a cluster of States within the Zone for an appropriate report to the head office in Abuja.