The Joint United Nations
has Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has called on the Federal Ministry of Health accelerate local production of Anti-Retroviral Drugs, to enable the country to suppress transmission of HIV/AIDS by 2030.
UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria and UNAIDS Focal Point for ECOWAS, Dr Bilali Camara, made the call during in an interview newsmen in Abuja.
Camera said UNAIDS has discussed with some pharmaceutical companies who have pledged readiness to go ahead with the production of anti-retroviral drugs as well as other HIV commodities in Nigeria.
In his words, “The pharmaceutical companies have asked the government for patronage as well as the freedom to import the necessary ingredients for the production of the drugs free. They have also asked the government to ensure that the market is protected and that the government should utilise the drugs at low competitive rate.
“When the drugs are produced and sold to government, the companies want the government to ensure prompt payments as quickly as possible to sustain the production of the commodities,”
Camera who maintained that UNAIDS would continue to push the ministry to ensure the accomplishment of this important goal stated that if Nigeria could produce the drugs, it will assist us to make a difference in the whole of West Africa and thereby making drugs more affordable to the sub-region at a cheaper rate.
“There is viable market for the commodities within the region and some stakeholders in the region will tell you that there is stock out in some of the countries.”
The director further said that the West Africa Health Organisation (WAHO) was collaborating with Nigerian pharmaceutical companies to see how to provide better drugs security stock in the region
He said ECOWAS must also be responsible to the consumption of drugs produced within the sub-region.
“We are negotiating with these Nigerian pharmaceutical companies to be the one to provide the security on anti-retroviral drugs for WAHO.
“The location for the centre has been identified in Abidjan; the government of Cote d’Ivoire has accepted the offer and already there are some vaccines there.
“We are also working to make anti-retroviral drugs available at the centre so that when member states run into crises, they can get stock from there.
The country director said that Africa imports 98 per cent of its anti-retroviral medicines adding that two manufacturers dominated 71 per cent of the African market.
He said that the local production of the anti-retroviral drugs would also provide an incentive to build domestic pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity as well as deliver economic dividends to the region.
HIV: FG Restates Commitment To Prevent HIV Among Adolescents
The Federal Government yesterday restated its commitment to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among adolescents in the country.
The Ministry of Health in collaboration with NACA, UNFPA, UNICEF, launched a document on prevention of HIV in Abuja.
The document is integrated into three titles; “The HIV Investment Case for Adolescents and Young People (2021-2025), The National Condom Operational Plan (2021-2025) and National Condom and Lubricants Quantification (2021-2025).”
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Yahaya Oloriegbe, identified condom as key in the prevention of the spread of HIV among young people.
Oloruigbe, who commended the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and partners for the effort, called for local production of condoms.
“We need to look inwards by encouraging local manufacturing of condoms in view of government’s dwindling resources, as well as breaking away from over dependence on international donors,” he said.
The Director General of NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu,asserted the agency’s success in the containment of HIV through prevention and treatment responses.
Aliyu said that the country was committed to achieving the 2030 target of 95-95-95 through collaboration with stakeholders by investing in adolescents.
He added, “we have made huge success when it comes to treatment and prevention with drastic reduction in transmission.”
The NACA boss however affirmed the belief of the agency in using the document to achieve the 95-95-95 target for 2030.
Mrs Zainab Garba of the Federal Ministry of Health commended NACA for launching the document, saying it would enhance young people’s access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
Garba reiterated the importance of condom in reducing the spread of HIV and maternal deaths among young people, saying it was key in preventing all manners of sexually transmitted infections.
Doctor Warns Against Indiscriminate Use Of Contraceptives
A medical expert, Dr Umar Musa, on Monday warned women against indiscriminate use of contraceptives.
Dr Musa, President, Kaduna State Resident Doctors Association, gave the advice when he spoke with newsmen in Kaduna, noted the indiscriminate consumption of contraceptives to ward off unwanted pregnancies and cautioned that while they could forestall unwanted pregnancies, contraceptives were not antidotes for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
He said there was a particular contraceptive pill in hot demand, but also cautioned that its indiscriminate consumption could delay conception or damage the uterus.
“Too much of this contraceptive will weaken the wall of the womb and damage the uterus which will cause miscarriages in the future.
“There are lots of risks associated with the constant use of this drug. Most ladies consume contraceptives in clinically unsafe ways.
“They use these drugs without knowing the way they interact with the body system and forgetting that people react to drugs in different ways,’’ he said.
Musa also advocated tighter restrictions on the sale of contraceptives and suggested that the use of condoms was an option to stave off unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
“While a condom may look like a major inconvenience and a fun killer for many, it would protect one from sexually transmitted diseases and prevent pregnancy”.
Covid-19: NCDC Records 213 New Infections, Two Deaths
Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) recorded 213 additional new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 171, 324, as of July 26, 2021.
The NCDC disclosed this on its official Twitter handle yesterday morning.
The health agency also stated that it recorded two Covid-19 related deaths on Monday, while additional nine people recovered from the virus, as of July 26, 2021.
It added that the new infections were recorded in 12 states, namely: Lagos-157, Rivers-20, Plateau-12, Enugu-6, Oyo-6, Gombe-3, Bauchi-2, Imo-2, Kaduna-2, Edo-1, Ekiti-1, and Ogun-1.
It noted that since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease in the country on February 27, 2020, a total of 2,134 persons lost their lives, while 164,798 recovered from the virus and discharged from health centres across the country.
NCDC added that a multi-sectoral national emergency operations centre (EOC), activated at Level 2, had continued to coordinate the national response activities.
It stated that the country tested more than 2.4 million samples for the virus and had detected 10 Covid-19 Delta variant, recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a variant of concern, given its increased transmissibility.
The variant had been detected in over 100 countries and may spread further.
The variant has also been linked to a surge in cases in countries where it is the dominant strain in circulation. There are ongoing studies to understand the impact of the variant on existing vaccines and therapeutics.
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