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The Federal Government said as at the end of June 2017, the number of Nigerians placed on anti-retroviral therapy is 1,050,594, as against 983,980 reported at the end of last year.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, disclosed this on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of the 60th National Council on Health held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, with the theme “Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and the Health Sector: Matters Arising.”

He said government was also implementing other HIV prevention and control programmes, including the fast-track programme in six states, plus the Federal Capital Territory, to reduce the HIV epidemic in the country.

Prof. Adewole said HIV/AIDS remains a persistent threat to the health of Nigerians, further straining the already struggling health care system and compromising the past developmental gains.

He said the situation called for concerted and sustained effort by all stakeholders to reduce the transmission of HIV in Nigeria.

He said, “As at the end of June 2017, the number of individuals placed on anti-retroviral therapy in the country is 1,050,594, as against 983,980 reported at the end of last year.

“Government is also implementing other HIV prevention and control programmes, including the fast-track programme in six states, plus the FCT, to reduce the HIV epidemic in the country.”

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He said concerted efforts must be made to reverse the trend, whereby over $1bn was being spent annually on medical tourism.

He said the Federal Government would collaborate with state governments in revitalising the Primary Health Care, as it has ceased to be the first point of call for most Nigerians, despite being best positioned in terms of proximity and service packages.

He said, “To correct this situation, we have reorganised the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to ensure effective healthcare delivery on its mandate.”

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, noted that a healthy citizenry provided with a necessary ambience for self-fulfillment would not only be useful to themselves but would also be useful and valuable contributors to the society.

He said at this critical period when the nation was striving to diversify the economy from crude oil, it should realise that “only a healthy population can drive the policy.”

Amosun said the government must continue to break new grounds and ensure that the nation adequately tackled maternal mortality, infant mortality, life expectancy, and emergency response time.

He said, “These are globally acceptable measures of national development.”

The event attracted commissioners for health from across the country, development partners and other stakeholders in health sector.

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