Nigeria To Provide 200,000 HIV/AIDS Patients With Drugs by 2005 With $248M in Aid, Health Minister Says
Nigeria hopes to provide 200,000 of the approximately 3.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country with antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2005 using $248 million in aid from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Health Minister Eyitayo Lambo said on Wednesday, Reuters reports (Reuters, 8/18). The funds also will be used to diagnose and monitor the patients who receive antiretrovirals under the national HIV/AIDS treatment program. "This is a very ambitious program and we are going to do everything to make sure it succeeds," Lambo said (Da Costa, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 8/18). Earlier this year, Nigeria received the first installment of a shipment of antiretrovirals worth nearly $4 million to end a four-month shortage in the treatment program. Many of the country's 25 HIV/AIDS treatment centers had lacked sufficient medicines since September 2003. Lambo blamed the drug shortage on a lack of money and an over-enrollment of patients (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/19). Last month, the country commissioned a domestic pharmaceutical plant to produce generic antiretrovirals (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/29). A recent study of HIV prevalence in Nigeria reported a decline from 5.8 % of the total population in 2001 to 5% in 2003, according to the AP/Sun. However, Lambo said it is "too early" to conclude that Nigeria's HIV prevalence is "on a long-term downward trend," the AP/Sun reports. "We are not celebrating yet because until we have two successive drops in infection rates, we are not in a position to say indeed we are beginning to see a fall in HIV infection rates in Nigeria," he added (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 8/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.