I am delighted to be in your midst this day to inaugurate the Resource Mobilization Technical Working Group for HIV funding from donors has dwindled over the years while the pandemic still remains a disease of public health concern with a high attendant treatment burden put at over 40,000 patients on treatment in the state.
Eliminating new infections in the state and ensuring access to quality anti-retroviral therapy (ART) by People Living with HIV (PLHIV) continues to ravage and is a key thrust of HIV interventions and achieving epidemic control in the state.
Our Governor, His Excellency, Arc. Darius Dickson Ishaku recently hosted the Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Charge D’ Affairs of the US Embassy in Nigeria, Kathleen FitzGibbon to address the o boarding process for the HIV programme in Taraba stat. This secures the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) support for the HIV treatment programme for the next two to three years in the state.
As at 2021, about 85,082 people were estimated to be living with HIV in the state and out of this figure, 40,762 people are on treatments as validated in August 2021. I was also told that this figure can be more after further tracking of patients who may have defaulted from treatment.
It is worth to note that during the tenure of this Administration, thanks to His Excellency on the efforts he made to support the HIV response in the state and this has contributer significant decline in HIV prevalence in the state from 10.5% in 2012 to 2.9% in 2018 (NAIIS 2018).
It is said that at least N95,411,141 million needs to be spent on HIV testing services to seek out 95% of around 45,000 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) not yet identified and who will eventually require treatment to achieve the first 95% of the 95:95:95 target by 2030.
Similarly, I am told that 40,762 have validated to be receiving ART will require at least N2Billion annually for treatment.
With this in mind, I believe this Resource Mobilization Technical Working Group has its work cut out for it, as its overall aim is to provide guidance and support the efforts at resourcing for the HIV response in the state.
This includes though not limited to identifying and implementing alternative financing initiatives for sustainable HIV response in the state.
The Resource Mobilization Technical Working Group (RMTWG) will provide coordination and technical guidance to Domestic Resoirce Mobilization (DRM) efforts for the HIV prevention and treatment in the state. It is also hoped that the RMTWG will provide the state with continuous update on Resource Mobilization activities for effective HIV implementation.
I believe that with this, the state will be better positioned to assume greater ownership of the HIV response including its financing and avoid shocks that may arise due to partial or complete pull out of donor interventions in three year’s time.