BREAKING NEWS: Partnering for progress: Transforming Nigeria’s healthcare landscape

Partnering for progress: Transforming Nigeria’s healthcare landscape

Partnering for progress: Transforming 's landscape

For the past two decades, the collaborative efforts of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM), the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) have been instrumental in supporting 's battle against malaria, HIV and tuberculosis. Cumulatively, these programs have invested approximately $11 billion in Nigeria's response to the three diseases. The PMI alone has committed an additional $800m since its inception in 2011.

Together, these global funding partners have bestowed upon Nigeria one of the most substantial country investment portfolios, resulting in impressive achievements in disease control, improved population health outcomes, and enhancements in our national and sub-national health systems.

On the frontlines of HIV/AIDS, Nigeria reported in 2021 that approximately 1.8 million individuals were receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment, while 6.2 million underwent HIV testing. Also, 34,000 mothers living with HIV received vital medication to safeguard their lives and prevent HIV transmission to their babies, and about 1.7 million accessed HIV prevention services. These achievements have placed Nigeria among the nations closest to attaining the UNAIDS 95-95-95 epidemic control targets: 95 percent of people living with HIV knowing their status, 95 percent receiving life-saving treatment, and 95 percent achieving suppression, reducing the risk of HIV transmission significantly.

In the fight against malaria, Nigeria has distributed 16.3 million mosquito nets, provided preventive treatment to 2.4 million pregnant women, and tested 26.1 million suspected cases for malaria. For tuberculosis, Nigeria has treated 5.3 million people and currently provides treatment for approximately 1,600 individuals battling extensively drug-resistant TB.

The impact of these three donor partners extends beyond disease control. They've played a pivotal role in improving Nigeria's infrastructure, including the establishment of -class public laboratories, upgrades to central drug warehouses, and the implementation of efficient distribution and supply chain systems. These investments were not only crucial in responding to Ebola and but also in supporting agencies like the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control NCDC, to strengthen service delivery and capacity for, perhaps, future pandemics.

The success of these initiatives in Nigeria is as a result of a harmonious partnership with the and its leadership. Through its political will, the of Nigeria has created a favourable policy , ensured effective coordination, and significantly improved public health outcomes. Despite fiscal challenges, the government has also participated in funding replenishment rounds for the Global Fund, pledging a total of $95m to date.

However, the upcoming visit by the leaders of these donor partners, including Mr Peter Sands, Executive Director of GFATM; Dr John Nkengasong, Ambassador-At-Large, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Senior Bureau Official for Global Health and Diplomacy; and Dr David Dalton, the United States Global Malaria Coordinator, presents a unique opportunity for Nigeria's new administration under to further strengthen collaborations and a chance to explore ways to build upon these successes.

Specifically, the visit provides an opportunity to expand the scope of Global Fund, PEPFAR, and PMI investments to encompass broader health system development which includes addressing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer, which remain significant contributors to morbidity and mortality. It's also an opportunity to tackle infections, immunization, paediatric health and maternal health issues.

More so, discussions around integrating Tuberculosis, Malaria, and HIV services into Nigeria's National Health Insurance Authority and implementing compulsory social health insurance are in focus. The ultimate goal is for the government at all levels to gradually take over service delivery responsibilities currently managed by third-party partners, aligning with sustainability outlined in discussions like the New Model and Alignment 2.0.

This visit and dialogue reiterate the importance of fulfilling replenishment commitments and counterpart funding requirements. This will also provide the forum to encourage increased domestic budget allocations for health by leveraging existing donor support, we further strengthen our healthcare systems and enhance pandemic preparedness, ultimately leading to improved health outcomes for all .

The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 organizations – UNHCR, , WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the – and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development .

Dr Leopold Zekeng, UNAIDS Country Director Nigeria, wrote from

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