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US-CDC Supports FG’s Progress Towards AIDS-Free Generation

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Since 2019, Nigeria has nearly doubled the number of children and adolescents receiving lifesaving HIV treatment services.
The country has also increased the percentage of children under nine years old that have achieved HIV viral suppression from 60 to 84percent.
The US-CDC Country Director, Dr Mary Boyd, who disclosed this in Abuja at the close-out ceremony of the US-CDC-supported Faith-Based Action for Scaling Up Testing and Treatment for Epidemic Response project (FASTER), said the project facilitated significant progress among these populations.
A statement by the US Mission in Nigeria in Abuja, and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, said that the project was implemented in collaboration with CDC Comprehensive HIV Service Delivery Implementing Partners, the Government of Nigeria, and other stakeholders in the FCT, Nasarawa, Benue, Lagos, Imo, Enugu, Delta, and Rivers states, to catalyse priority interventions, especially for children and adolescents, towards improved HIV service delivery and health outcomes.
The statement quoted Boyd as saying, “In many ways, FASTER came to set the trend, to demonstrate that innovations in Paediatric HIV care and treatment are possible and that it can make a difference in saving lives.
“FASTER focused on reducing structural barriers to care, expanding innovation, and scaling up what works”.
NASCP’s, Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu acknowledged the critical contributions of the FASTER initiative, particularly in ensuring that infants received timely early infant diagnosis and treatment by introducing point of care testing utilizing GeneXpert platforms.
The CDC country director noted that the FASTER initiative delivered on its objectives and was instrumental in ensuring innovations in case-finding, such as caregiver-assisted HIV self-testing.
Rapid turnaround time for early infant diagnosis, paediatric viral load testing for timely decision making, and accelerated adoption of optimized paediatric regimens.
FASTER also impacted the roll-out of Operation Triple Zero (OTZ), an asset-based approach to HIV programming for adolescents and young people (AYP) and was instrumental in strengthening the retention in care of mother-infant pairs.
Boyd noted, “While significant progress has been made, we still have work to do. For example, estimates show that about 85,000 children living with HIV in Nigeria still do not have access to treatment. However, we now know those innovations and best practices that do work, and we are well on our way to ensuring equity in the care available for every child living with HIV.”
The country director expressed gratitude to the 100s of religious leaders who partnered with US-CDC and have become champions for the children’s health in their communities.
“Such efforts will remain part of the history of Nigeria’s HIV epidemic control success story,” she added.
FASTER was funded through a US-CDC Headquarters co-operative agreement in 2019 with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
In addition to Nigeria, the project was implemented in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.
US-CDC is one of the key implementing agencies of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The FASTER program exemplifies the ongoing efforts of the U.S. Government to assist countries in achieving sustained epidemic control of HIV by supporting/ equitable/ health services/ and solutions, enduring/ national/ health systems/ and capabilities, and/ lasting collaborations.
Since 2003, the U.S. Government, through PEPFAR, has invested more than $85billion in the global HIV/AIDS response and saved more than 20million lives, working in 54 countries.
In Nigeria, PEPFAR has invested more than $6billion in the national HIV/AIDS response.
Some measures of our success include, nearly 1.8million, women, and children currently on HIV treatment in Nigeria.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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2023: I’m Only PDP Presidential Aspirant To Defeat APC–Wike

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Rivers State Governor and leading presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Nyesom Wike,has said that he remained the only PDP aspirant that could win election against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Wike, in company of some PDP chieftains, made this remark when he met national delegates of the Lagos chapter of PDP in Ikeja, last Saturday.
The aspirant, who noted that he was not running to be vice president to anybody, said that if elected, peace, security of lives and property would be prioritised to strengthen the nation’s sustainable infrastructure, food security, prosperity and economic turnaround.
He said the nation needed a strong and courageous leader like him now, adding that with a courageous leader, difficult decisions would be taken to tackle the nation’s challenges.
“The issue now is who can win election for PDP. Who has the capacity to face the APC? Who will win election for PDP? That is me here.
“I will face APC squarely. If you give me this ticket on May 28 and May 29, go home and sleep with your two eyes closed,” Wike said.
The governor said that PDP must do everything possible not to lose the 2023 presidential election.
“If we lose the presidential election in 2023, we can as well forget PDP.
“I have been tested in terms of performance. Mine is ‘talk and do’,” he added.
Wike, who promised to replicate his outstanding performance in Rivers State across Nigeria, said that he would provide a leadership every Nigerian would be proud of, home and abroad.
The aspirant pleaded with the Lagos delegates and leaders to be united and work for his emergence at the primaries.
“I know APC very well, allow me to face them. I am begging you, delegates, allow me. Support me to take the power from APC and bring back to PDP.
“I depend on the South-West, if the South-West gives me the votes, I have won the election. Donate all your votes to me,” he said.”
The PDP chieftain lamented that some party leaders aspiring to contest for PDP presidential ticket now, were the ones that threw the former ruling party into being opposition when they left the party in 2015.
Wike, who noted that he had been with PDP since 1998, said: “I will never leave this party. Whatever I am today, by the grace of God, God used PDP for me”.
He, however, said that he would never leave PDP even if he did not win the primaries, pledging to support whoever won.
The governor, who appealed to the Lagos PDP to end all infighting and division, said that if the party was not united, it would not win in the state.
In his remark, former Governor of Gombe State, Dr Ibrahim Dankwambo, who led Wike’s delegation, described the presidential aspirant as a fearless and courageous leader, with strong capacity to drive Nigeria forward.

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Army Bombs B’Haram Commander’s Convoy, Kills Scores, Destroys Gun Trucks

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Troops of the Nigerian Army under the auspices of Operation Hadin Kai have bombed a convoy of a Commander of Boko Haram in Sambisa forest, Abubakar Sarki, killing scores of terrorists who were with him.
Sources said the offensive was coordinated by the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Nigerian Army and Commander Sector 1 North East Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK), Maj-Gen Waidi Shaibu on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at Yuwe location, within the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State.
The Army was said to have deployed a massive artillery gun after sighting eight moving convoys conveying Abubakar Sarki and unconfirmed numbers of fighters in devastating hits.
The source said that based on intelligence information, Abubakar Sarki and his team were heading toward Abu-Ubaida’s camp to engage its rival fighters from the Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP), in a battle of supremacy.
Counter Intelligence expert with knowledge of terrorists activities in Lake Chad, Zagazola Makama confirmed the artillery bombing of the BH Commander’s convoy.
“A ground assessment confirmed that three guntrucks with all its occupants were completely destroyed, while the remaining five vehicles, including Abubakar Sarki escaped” the source said.
The source added that the terrorists, however, aborted the mission and evacuated the dead and wounded fighters towards the axis between Pulka and Banki.
The sources said that the troops were mandated to go after the fleeing terrorists and eliminate them completely.
The infighting between the two terrorists groups had intensified with the ISWAP hunting Boko Haram during the day time while the Boko Haram are coordinating reprisal attacks at night because of their knowledge of the terrain.

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NDDC Fund, Account For Alleged N700b, Inaugurate Board, Monarch Tasks FG

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Barely three days after some ministers resigned, including Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, the Paramount Ruler of Idjerhe Kingdom of Delta State, King Obukowho Monday Whiskey, yesterday, called for urgent inauguration of the already screened and confirmed board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) just as he called on the Federal Government to the over N700billion he alleged has been allocated to investigate the commission in the last three years.
He said these steps by the government would help resuscitate the agency and rekindle hope of the people whose regional resources, he alleged, were criminally plundered by the leadership of Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
In a press statement personally issued by the monarch and made available to journalists in Benin City, Whiskey said, “Having voluntarily resigned as Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, our beloved son, Obong Godswill Obot Akpabio, should come out clean to explain to fellow Niger Deltans the whereabouts of the three years running budgetary allocations of the NDDC which inside sources claimed were more than N700billion.
“For presiding over the ongoing illegality in NDDC, Akpabio is not fit to be president.
“The Federal Government and Akpabio, who held the region perpetually captive and denied her of her developmental agenda because of an inglorious forensic audit that never brought out anything should now explain to our people of our collective regional wealth.
“The father of the nation, Mr. President must have seen now that those he entrusted with the developmental agenda of the oil and gas bearing communities of Nigeria had their own nefarious intentions to swindle and cause more havoc and deny the people their collective dreams of development.
“It is instructive to note, Mr. President, that three options are still available to the Federal Government of Nigeria. The first being the immediate inauguration of the screened and confirmed board of the NDDC under the Chairmanship of Dr. Pius Egberavwe Odubu, and Olorogun Bernard Okumagba as managing director. Secondly, immediate dissolution of the illegally constituted sole administrator that is alien to the NDDC Act 2000, and thirdly, every of the allocation to the NDDC from 2019 to 2022 except for those used for staff salaries and sundry expenses, every other monies of the over N700billion be recovered from whoever were part of the Macabre dance of shame in the past four years.”
The traditional ruler stressed that the inauguration of the already screened and confirmed board would rekindle hope and restore the Federal Government’s integrity before Nigerians and the international community.

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