Wife of the President, Dr. Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian women to test for HIV when they are pregnant. This, she said, will ensure that women living with HIV can receive treatment and give birth to children free of HIV. She made the call during a courtesy visit by Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), on Thursday, 14th March, 2019 at the State House, Abuja.
Mrs. Buhari thanked UNAIDS for extending the tenure of her appointment as UNAIDS Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV in Nigeria and the Promotion of Treatment for Children Living with HIV by another two years. This, she said, will enable her to contribute more towards ensuring that no child is born with HIV in Nigeria.
“As part of my contribution to the campaign, I am pleased to inform you that recently, I launched the Free to Shine Campaign here at Abuja before the presence of relevant stakeholders including representatives of MDAs, wives of Governors, members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as people living with HIV/AIDS.”
She thanked development partners, whose support in the HIV response has been invaluable, and charged government at all levels to increase funding for HIV response using Nigeria’s own domestic resources.
Earlier, Executive Director UNAIDS, Dr. Michel Sidibe, extolled the humanitarian qualities of Mrs. Buhari, which he said qualified her for the ambassadorial appointment last year, saying he was happy to formalize the appointment, and extend it by another two years.
Dr. Sidibe referred to the results of a recently conducted survey on HIV launched by President Buhari which has indicated positive outcomes for HIV in Nigeria, especially with fewer infections and fewer people living with the disease.
He called for concerted effort to stop HIV in Nigeria, as he noted “if we don’t stop HIV in Nigeria, we will never have a generation free of HIV in Africa.” He expressed the conviction that Mrs. Buhari has a huge role to play in this regard.
Highlight of the event was the presentation of the extension certificate to Mrs. Buhari by Dr. Sidibe.
On the entourage of Dr. Sidibe were the Country Director of UNAIDS, Dr. Erasmus Morah, Director General, National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu and other officials.