By Mustapha Yauri
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) says it has developed sustainable plan for the funding of comprehensive care for more people living with HIV-AIDS.
Dr Sani Aliyu, Director-General, NACA disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that in the new plan, state governments and the FCT were expected to contribute a total of N23 billion for the programme.
According to him, NACA is to ensure the realisation of the contribution and the use of the money for the purpose intended.
The Director-General said that the money would be generated through deduction of one per cent from the Federal Government‘s statutory allocation to the states and FCT.
“We made a presentation to the National Economic Council and we discussed the possibility of contributing up to one per cent of the monthly federal allocation to states to boost HIV/AIDS response programme.
“Through such contribution, we will be able to generate about N23billion.
“We are not saying the money should come to NACA but states should direct the money to the HIV-AIDS response programme.
“In 2016, almost 99 per cent of the entire HIV/AIDS commodities were brought in by the international donor agencies, government contributed just one per cent.
“Clearly, we cannot continue to have this huge dependency for a health problem that is a Nigeria’s problem,’’ Aliyu said.
According to him, the initiative will allow 50 per cent of the people living with HIV/AIDS to be enrolled into treatment schemes.
Aliyu said other options include integrating HIV-AIDS treatment into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and community health insurance scheme.
He said the agency had been in discussions with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and some state governors making efforts to introduce state health insurance scheme on the issue.
Aliyu expressed optimism the initiative would provide sustainability to HIV-AIDS response programmes.
He lamented that out of pocket expenses for the people living with HIV-AIDS had been on a high side, adding that they were also made to pay for laboratory services and other charges.
According to Aliyu, having a health insurance scheme that covers all the medical expenses of for people with HIV-AIDS would cushion the financial impact on their treatment.
He said when he assumed office in January 2017, one of the things he noted was the huge donor dependency on the National HIV response programme.
The director-general said there were little above one million people on treatment for HIV-AIDS across the country, adding that only 60, 000 were sponsored by the Federal Government through Taraba and Abia response programme.
He also said the rest were sponsored by the foreign donors either through the United State Government Presidential Emergency Programme For AIDS Response (PEPFAR) or the Global Fund response.
The director-general said available data showed that out of the number, over three million Nigerians affected by HIV/AIDS needed to stay on treatment for life.