By: Badaru Yakasai & Doris Jonah
As the World celebrates the 2023 Aids Day, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has pledged to enroll persons living with HIV/AIDs in the Territory into the FCT Health Insurance Scheme (FHIS) for free.
This was disclosed by the Secretary, FCT Health Services and Environment Secretariat (HSES), Dr. Adedolapo Fasawe, at an event organized by FCT Agency for the Control of AIDs (FACA) to mark the Day in Abuja.
According to her, the gesture was in line with the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu and Barrister Nyesom Wike led FCT Administration which is aimed at restoring hope and confidence of people living with HIV/AIDS.
She described the 2023 WAD theme tagged “COMMUNITIES: LEADERSHIP TO END AIDs by 2030” as apt.
The theme Fasawe noted was strategically chosen to emphasize the influence of communities, political /opinion leaders to strongly collaborate to increase awareness about the pandemic, prevention, treatment and destigmatisation of affected people.
Speaking further, the Secretary said that Community led initiatives as well as commitment of leaders will play a crucial role in the achievement of this ambitious goal also in response and speeding up progress towards the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 95-95-95 targets and ending the pandemic by year 2030.
Her words: “Working together, hand in hand, we can create a world where the impact of HIV/AIDS is minimized, and everyone is embraced with the care and understanding they deserve” in order to halt achieve the 2030 target of Ending AIDs.
Earlier, the Acting Programme Manager of FACA, Zainab Ibrahim, noted that since the first case of AIDs was discovered in 1991, there has been progress in curtailing the disease following some measures and partnership support FCT enjoys as regards HIV/AIDs.
According to Ibrahim, the prevalence of HIV in FCT over the years has remained high and doubled the National average, 9.9% in 2008, 8.6% in 2010, 7.5% in 2012 and 5.8% in 2014.
“With intense, comprehensive, evidence-based and targeted HIV/AIDS interventions resulted in the reduction of HIV prevalence currently in FCT to 1.4% in 2018 and ranked 15th position in the country,” she added.
Ibrahim stated that as part of the efforts to address the sub-optimal Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission (PMTCT) services performance which is a driving force of the Secretary HSES to prevent Maternal and Infant Mortality, the FCT HIV/AIDS programme has adopted the National PMTCT Scale Up approach “find all, test all, treat all and report all”.
This has translated to making every possible effort to find all HIV positive pregnant women, ensuring they are tested for HIV, linked to treatment, and counting every single one that has gained access to treatment”, she stressed.