The United States government has expressed its commitment to Abia State in its efforts towards achieving HIV epidemic control and the recruitment of healthcare workers to help sustain an expanded HIV programme and other critical public health services.
The US Embassy Charge d’Affaires , Kathleen FitzGibbon, said her country was looking to Abia State to demonstrate a model of sustainable state ownership of HIV response.
FitzGibbon spoke on Tuesday when she led a Mission Nigeria interagency team to South-East state to mark the re-engagement of U.S. assistance to Abia through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and support renewed efforts towards HIV epidemic control.
She also called for an increased health budget allocation and release of funds, ensuring that the goal of having additional patients on treatment was achieved.
Ranking as the state with the sixth-highest HIV prevalence in the country, Abia has an estimated 58,341 PLHIV.
A statement by Temitayo Famutimi of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Consulate General, read, “Today, the U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon, led a Mission Nigeria interagency team to Abia State to mark the re-engagement of U.S. assistance to the State through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and support renewed efforts towards HIV epidemic control.
“The U.S. will work with the state government and other stakeholders to close the HIV treatment gap by identifying and initiating treatment for an additional 37,000 people living with HIV in Abia State within the next two years. CDA FitzGibbon and the delegation met Governor Ikpeazu.
“The U.S. is looking to Abia State to lead and demonstrate a model of sustainable state ownership of the HIV response. This will help to strengthen the partnership between the United States and Abia State.”
In a separate meeting with stakeholders, the delegation briefed participants on the new approach to supporting Abia’s expanded HIV programme and called on them (stakeholders) to actively play a role that ensures all PLHIV were identified and placed on lifesaving treatment.
FitzGibbon announced, “October 1, 2021, PEPFAR, through U.S. CDC, marked its initiation of direct service delivery support in Abia State to enable the state to achieve HIV epidemic control by providing lifesaving treatment to its people.”