The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has said that the alignment 2.0 initiative will ensure that states take ownership of HIV response.
The director-general, Dr Aliyu Gambo, in a statement issued in Abuja, recently, said that the alignment was essentially a process that looks at the responses and sees how gradually it belongs now only to the country in terms of the country’s ownership and sustainability.
“We are now implementing everything under 1.0 and having successfully completed 1.0, we are beginning to realign to 2.0, under which where we are asking for more local resources for more ownership in terms of putting the states in the driver’s seat, and having more service integration with health insurance schemes and with primary health care at the grassroots.
“Nigeria started this one. It is the only country that started this in the last three years, and with the success Nigeria has recorded, the United States Government is now advising countries across the globe to come to Nigeria to learn how Nigeria was able to do this and to learn what Nigeria is planning to do in Alignment 2.0.
Gambo stated that countries like Namibia came last year, and this year, just a month ago, Ethiopia and Kenya came all of to learn about the success of Nigeria’s HIV response and to see what Nigeria was doing and for them to learn and take back to their countries.
He explained that the agreement was that the Federal Government should support the treatment of at least 100,000 people for the next three years and that promise has been fulfilled.
“For the last three years, every year we’ve treated 100,000 people yearly. This is the beginning and gradually with time, we will begin to add more patients, which means the patients that would now be under the care of our development partners, would continue to reduce going forward,” Gambo added.
The director-general pointed out that with the Alignment 2.0 , more local resources were expected to support HIV response and that the local resources must not only come from the government but from the private sector and that was the reason for launching HIV Trust Fund of Nigerians in February this year.
“Under Alignment 2.0, we would want to see more of these investments from the Federal Government, private sector, as well as from the states. And under Alignment 2.0, we want to give the states more responsibility, to put the states in the driver’s seat,” he stressed.
Aliyu explained that the implementing partners would now become teachers: teaching, training and showing the state what they do and what they have been doing over the past 20 years to sustain the response and to provide treatment services to people in different locations throughout the state.
“We are working now with PEPFAR and Global Fund to come up with a framework in the first or second week of November and we expect to converge on Geneva to scrutinise discussion, and now produce a document that would provide both the policy guidelines and the structure that would guide country ownership and sustainability. That is what the alignment is all about.”
The D-G assured that the new Alignment 2.0 will kick-start in the country as soon as relevant documents were finalised.
“In fact, it has already started because the HIV Trust Fund that we launched early this year is meant to kick-start it, and we have kick-started it. We are bringing the states into the driver’s seat. In two of the 36 states, we have already signed an agreement about where the states now would be leading, so it has already started in a way. From that time, we have sustained this response till this moment, and what we are looking forward to is a situation where we control transmission, we control and limit HIV within individuals that have it, and now Nigerians can happily say HIV is no longer going to be an epidemic. It is going to be treated as a chronic illness,” he said.
Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the national coordinator of the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), said with Alignment 2.0, the Federal Government will be better positioned to lead the National HIV Response where the Global Fund is still putting some level of resources for treatment.
“About 30 per cent goes to the community response which is of more benefit to people living with HIV; where issues around monitoring the quality of services are issues around gender and human rights and in terms of prevention of stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV and other marginalised group is really improved.”
Ibrahim said there were issues with the first realignment because most of the community components and intervention targeted at empowering NEPHWAN or organisations of people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups have not really been prioritised.
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