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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>UN Report: Nigeria Has Highest Number of HIV Children Worldwide
Friday, 28 June 2013 15:19

UN Report: Nigeria Has Highest Number of HIV Children Worldwide

Written by Muhammad Bello
Nigerian Mother Held her  HIV Free Daughter in Nigeria Nigerian Mother Held her HIV Free Daughter in Nigeria

•President Jonathan prescribes ways to check HIV/AIDS


With 60,000 Nigerian children infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) last year, Nigeria has the highest number of children with the virus in the world, according to the latest report by the United Nations.

The number of children infected with the virus is higher than that of any other country in the world, and is a source of worry for experts with one describing it as “alarming,” a report by an online news medium, Premium Times, has said.


However, President Goodluck Jonathan said for Nigeria and other African nations to successfully control the HIV/AIDS scourge, the continent must effectively tackle poverty.


The UN report titled “2013 Progress Report on The Global Plan: Towards the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive” is the most recent on the global plan which seeks an elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015, as well as keep their mothers alive.


Despite the efforts of the federal and state governments to check the spread of HIV, the report shows that the prevalence rate of HIV among Nigerian children has remained relatively stagnant with no significant improvement; while that of several other countries was improving with fewer prevalence rates than before.


“In several countries, the pace of decline in the numbers of children newly infected has been slow and the numbers have actually risen in Angola. Nigeria has the largest number of children acquiring HIV infection - nearly 60,000 in 2012, a number that has remained largely unchanged since 2009,” the report stated.

The UN said it was worried about the prevalence rate of HIV among Nigerian children and warned that if Nigeria is not serious in curbing HIV in children, part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will not be realised by 2015.


“Without urgent action in Nigeria, the global target for 2015 is unlikely to be reached,” the report added.

While Nigeria witnessed stagnancy since 2009 in the prevalence of HIV among children, several other sub-Saharan African countries witnessed a massive reduction in their prevalence rate.


Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia all witnessed a 50-per-cent decline in new HIV infections in children, while two more countries - the United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe - are very close to achieving this target; prompting the UN to warn Nigeria to sit up in the fight against HIV in children.


Nigeria’s comparatively poor performance in combating HIV transmission to children also reflected among the 21 countries under the Global Plan watch of the UN.


“Nigeria accounts for one third of all new HIV infections among children in the 21 priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa: the largest number of any country. Progress here is therefore critical to eliminating new HIV infections among children globally.

“Nearly all indicators assessed show stagnation and suggest that Nigeria is facing significant hurdles,” the report said.


Meanwhile, Jonathan has attributed the rising HIV/AIDS scourge to prevalent poverty and urged African leaders to take a bold step in tackling it.


The president, at the opening of a meeting of the Global Power Women Network Africa in Abuja, urged African leaders to go beyond the provision of free test kits and anti-retroviral drugs to effectively confront the HIV/AIDS scourge.


“For us in Africa, to fight AIDS, we must also fight poverty, African leaders must ensure that we create wealth for the citizens,’’ he said.


He recalled that as governor in Bayelsa State, he initiated a scheme whereby the state was giving N10,000 to each person living with AIDS in addition to free drugs.


Giving statistics of the HIV-AIDS in Africa, Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said of the 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world as at 2011, 69 per cent were in Africa.

Source: ThisDay

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