Health minister tasks Africa on production of HIV/AIDS drugs

Health minister tasks Africa on production of HIV/AIDS drugs

L-R: Director-General, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Prof. John Idoko; Senate Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume; Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremmadu; Senate President Bukola Saraki; former President of Botswana, Dr Festus Mogae and former Vice President of Uganda, Dr Speciosa Wandira, during the Advocacy visit of members of Champions of Aids Free Generation in Africa to the Senate President at the National Assembly in Abuja.

L-R: Director-General, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Prof. John Idoko; Senate Leader, Sen. Ali Ndume; Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremmadu; Senate President Bukola Saraki; former President of Botswana, Dr Festus Mogae and former Vice President of Uganda, Dr Speciosa Wandira, during the Advocacy visit of members of Champions of Aids Free Generation in Africa to the Senate President at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole  has called on nations on the African continent to explore ways of producing drugs for HIV/AIDS locally and halt dependence on nations of other regions where the drugs are imported.

He made the call in Abuja recently when he met with a delegation from Champion for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa recently in Abuja.

The team, led by former President of Botwana, Festus Mogae, were on advocacy visit to Nigeria on ways of tackling the disease further on the continent, according to a statement made available to NHO by Director of Media and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs Boade Akinola.

Adewole, who was represented by Director Family Health, Dr. Wapada Balami, said African countries, be it regional or as a whole, should look at the possibility of manufacturing indigenous HIV drugs.

He was quoted in the release as saying countries procuring HIV drugs from outside Africa are taking large amount of resources to another parts of the world, and that if Africa manufactures indigenously, nations on the continent would reduce cost because importing is more expensive than manufacturing.
The release stressed that he advised the delegation to seek the support of WHO’s  pre-qualification in the production of  HIV drugs locally, and that if at least one African country manufactures the drugs, other countries might procure from there and the cost would be reduced.
While assuring the People living with HIV/AIDs of Federal Government’s commitment to provide 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 former President of Botswana, Festus 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.  According to him, there should be proper coordination among Federal,, State and Local Governments as well as all agencies working on HIV/AID.
“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 Oumar Konaré, former President of Mali, Benjamin Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Kgalema Motlanthe, 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,” the release added.

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