It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this meeting for the dissemination of the findings from 2010 HIV sero-prevalence sentinel survey conducted among women attending antenatal clinics in Nigeria.
HIV/AIDS still remains one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa.Â OfÂ the 1.8 million estimated number of deaths due to AIDS and the 2.6 million new infections in 2009 worldwide, 72.2% (1.3 million) and 69.2% (1.8 million) respectively occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. A large proportion of these cases occurred in Nigeria.
The first ANC sero-prevalence survey conducted in 1991 put the National prevalence at 1.8%. Over the years, the prevalenceÂ rose to 4.5% in 1995/96, andÂ peaked at 5.8% in 2001 before it started declining. The current evidence from the 2010 ANC HIV sentinelÂ surveyÂ indicatesÂ that the epidemic curve has been on the decline, which could be attributed to the effectiveness of HIV prevention/ intervention strategies.
For GovernmentÂ to monitor the spread of the HIV and AIDS epidemic includingÂ programme planning, monitoring and evaluation in the country, itÂ instituted 3 types of HIV and AIDS surveys, namely:
1.Â Â National Sero-prevalence Sentinel Survey; This is conducted amongst the antenatal clinic Attendees.
2.Â Â National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey Plus (NARHS); This monitors HIV distribution in the general population and the behaviours driving it. It also monitors other sexual and reproductive health parameters.
3.Â Â Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey (IBBSS): This monitors the HIV distribution among the most- at- risk population and the behaviour influencing the HIV epidemic among them.
The National Sero-prevalence Sentinel Survey among the antenatal clinic attendees provides information on the HIV epidemic and its distribution in the country. This is aimed at sensitizing all stakeholders to take appropriate measures towards prevention, control and mitigating the impact of the disease. Nine rounds of the surveys have been conductedÂ since 1991 with the latest being the 2010; the result of which is beingÂ Â shared with you today.
The results of the 2010 sentinel survey have further confirmed that the HIV and AIDS epidemic in Nigeria remains a public health problem of enormous magnitude that must be given priority attention. The epidemic has affected all parts of the country with varying degrees of severity.
The overall National HIV prevalence for 2010 ANC Sentinel Survey is 4.1% withÂ prevalence ranging from 1.0% in Kebbi to 12.7% in Benue state. The prevalence was generally higher in urban than rural areas. However, eight states had a higher rural prevalence than urban and the highest survey site-specific prevalence of 21.3% was observed in Wannune, a rural site in Benue State.
The trend analysis of HIV prevalence among youths aged 15-24 years which is a crude index of new infection gave evidence of declining prevalence from 2001 to 2010 ( 6.0% in 2001, 5.3% in 2003, 4.3% in 2005, 4.2% in 2008 and 4.1% in 2010). This has given us some rays of hope that our prevention/ interventions strategies are working.
With the current National prevalence of 4.1%, the number of people infected is estimated at about 3.1 million. This means that Nigeria still has the second largest number of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa and the highest in the West African sub-region.
Currently, about 1.5 million people including 212,720 children are still in need of AIDS treatment.
By the end of 2009, there were 1,074 health facilities where HIV counseling and testing services can be accessed, 670 health facilitiesÂ providing services on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, and 393 health facilitiesÂ providingÂ Anti retroviral services.
400,000 People Living with HIV and AIDS now have access to free antiretroviral drugs.
I wish to further confirm Governmentâ€™s commitment to improveÂ access not only in HIV and AIDS services but also in other areas of health. I am aware that there are obstacles to achieving this task. But I believe with determination and commitment, this will be achievable.
My Ministry isÂ strengthening the health system at all levels, most especially at the Primary health care level to deliver on its stewardship role as the first point of service. Permit me to note that we have started decentralization of ART services at the Primary Health Care level to meet the needs of Nigerians. A couple ofÂ days ago, (on the 22nd March 2011), I commissioned the take off of this decentralization effort in Keffi, Nasarawa state.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, My ministry will continue to mobilize resources for the purchase of antiretroviral drugs, drugs for opportunistic infections and rapid test kits. I wish to use this opportunity to appeal to States and Local Governments to make similar efforts so that we can achieve the â€œthree zerosâ€ very quickly. The zero new HIV transmission, zero AIDS related death and zero discrimination in line with the UNAIDSÂ new strategy.
Finally, while my Ministry will continue to solicit for increased support for combating HIV and AIDS in the country, IÂ want to use this opportunity to reaffirm Governmentâ€™s appreciation to all the Development Partners/Agencies involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS, the United Nations Organization, United State Governments (USG), Department for International Development (DFID) of the British Government, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Implementing Partners, Local and International Non Governmental Organization, and a host of others too numerous to mention.
Special thanks to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization for their support and guidance in the conduct of this survey. The efforts of the various committees set to drive the conduct of the survey as well as that of individuals involved are highly appreciated.
Together we shall continue this fight until we achieve the â€œthree zerosâ€. On this note, I hereby launch the report of the 2010 HIV sero-prevalence sentinel survey conducted among the antenatal clinic attendees in Nigeria. It is hoped that the findings there-in will be used in planning for a better life for all Peoples Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria and for the actualization of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 6.
Prof C. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, Hon Minister Of Health, Federal Replic Of Nigeria