NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA. Dec. 3, 2012
Abuja, Dec. 3, 2012 (NAN) At least 2.5 million children in Nigeria have been orphaned by HIV and AIDS, the Director, Partnership and Coordination, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Hajiya Maimuna Mohammed, has said.
Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday that the epidemic was the major contributing factor to the high population of orphans in the country, posing a threat to the socio-economic development.
He said that stigma and lack of awareness had led to the continuous increase in HIV transmission, with more impact on children.
“Presently, Nigeria’s HIV prevalence stands at 4. 1 per cent and more people are infected in the urban than in the rural areas.
“No fewer than 3.6 million Nigerians are currently living with HIV, this is not acceptable; that is why we need to scale up efforts at all levels to reduce the virus to the barest minimum,’’ she said.
Mohammed said that there was the need for continuous advocacy to tackle the epidemic.
She said that there should be increased budgetary allocation for HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) as well as their care givers.
She said that NACA realised that it was important for HIV pregnant mothers to access Prevention-of-Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services so prevent new infections.
Mohammed said, “it is the worst epidemic so far and it affects every part of the globe,” adding that there was no cure yet.
According to her, it is the right of every child to have access to healthcare, education and other basic things, stressing that government would continue to create an enabling environment to make such a reality.