The Nigerian government has urged African countries to work towards production of HIV/AIDS drugs locally to reduce the amount of money spent on importation of the drugs.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole represented by the Director Family Health, Dr. Wapada Balami made the call while meeting with a delegation from‘Champion for an Aids-Free Generation in Africa, led by the former President of Botwana, Festus Mogae, who were on advocacy visit to Nigeria.
Adewole said that African countries, be it regional or as a whole should look at the possibility of manufacturing indigenous HIV drugs. “Countries procuring HIV drugs from outside Africa are taking large amount of resources to other parts of the world, but if we manufacture indigenously we would reduce cost because importing is more expensive than manufacturing”, he said.
He advised the delegation to seek the support of WHO’s pre-qualification in the production of HIV drugs locally . He said if at least one African country is manufacturing other countries may procure from there and the cost would be reduced.
While assuring the people living with HIV/AIDS of Federal Government’s commitment in providing adequate care, he called for increase in the budgetary allocation to HIV and AIDS considering the fact that the number of people living with the virus in the country is high.
In his remarks, the Leader of the delegation, Mogae, said that political commitments from top government officials are prerequisite for achieving the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He said that leaders must be involved not only in treatment but also in preventive measures. There should be proper coordination among Federal, State and Local Governments as well as all agencies working on HIV/AIDS.
A champion for an AIDS-Free Generation is a distinguished group of former presidents and influential African leaders committed to an AIDS-free generation. They support regional leaders towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.
Other members of the Champion Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, Edwin Cameron, South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal Judge, Joaquim A. Chissano, former President of Mozambique, Kenneth D. Kaunda, former President of Zambia, Alpha OumarKonaré, former President of Mali, Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, KgalemaMotlanthe, former Deputy President of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Speciosa Wandira-Kasibwe, former Vice President of Uganda, Miriam Were, former Chairperson of the Kenya National AIDS Control Council and Hifikepunye Pohamba, former President of Namibia.