You would have all heard about our President’s recent trip to New York for the UN high level meeting on HIV/AIDS. Apart from a few pictures with President Obama, the Nigerian press has been largely silent on the crux of the matter, the reason for the trip, and the commitments our president made on our behalf. Addressing the press at United Nations (UN) headquarters following his speech at the General Assembly, Jonathan reminded us that three million Nigerians are currently infected with HIV (after South Africa, Nigeria has the most cases in Africa) adding that his Government is “totally committed to reducing this number.” Contributing to the open debate on the impact of the disease, the President stressed that the “time is ripe for a final solution” to the 30-year-old pandemic.
On our behalf, President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan signed up to 105 Commitments on HIV/AIDS to be delivered by 2015 – coincidentally the year his current term comes to an end.
We urge you to download these from here and keep them. In 2015, and every year between now and then, we will read them and ask our president how he is doing. As the President himself has said….this era cannot be business as usual. So, it is up to us to hold him accountable for the promises he makes.
A few of the commitments are summarised here – some tough ones!
Reaffirm the 2001 Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS and the 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS and the urgent need to scale up significantly our efforts towards the goal of universal access to comprehensive prevention programmes, treatment, care and support;
Commit to seize this turning point in the HIV epidemic and through decisive, inclusive and accountable leadership to revitalize and intensify the comprehensive global HIV and AIDS response;
Commit to redouble efforts to achieve, by 2015, universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support as a critical step towards ending the global HIV epidemic;
Commit to increase national ownership of HIV and AIDS responses ensuring that they are nationally driven, credible, costed, evidence-based, inclusive and comprehensive.
Commit to ensure that national prevention strategies comprehensively target populations at higher risk; ensure that systems of data collection and analysis about these populations are strengthened;
Commit to working towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015 and substantially reducing AIDS-related maternal deaths;
Commit to encouraging and supporting the active involvement and leadership of young people, including those living with HIV, in the fight against the epidemic at local, national and global levels;
Commit to continue engaging people living with and affected by HIV in decision making, planning, implementing and evaluating the response;
Commit to redouble HIV prevention efforts by taking all measures to implement
comprehensive, evidence-based prevention approaches;
Commit to ensure that financial resources for prevention are targeted to evidence-based prevention measures that reflect the specific nature of each country’s epidemic;
Commit to accelerate efforts to achieve the goal of universal access to antiretroviral treatment for those eligible based on WHO HIV treatment guidelines by 2015;
Commit by 2015 to address factors that limit treatment uptake and contribute to treatment stock-outs, drug production and delivery delays; inadequate storage of medicines, patient dropout;
Commit to review, as appropriate, laws and policies which adversely impact on the successful, effective and equitable delivery of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support programmes to people living with and affected by HIV;
Commit to redouble efforts to strengthen health systems, including primary health care, through measures such as allocating national and international resources; appropriate decentralization of HIV and AIDS programmes…
All the commitments available here.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead