The Society for Family Health (SFH) has restated its dedication to forging a path to eradicating AIDS. This commitment aims to prepare and address potential future pandemics while also progressing towards achieving the global goals set for 2030.
Kene Eruchaluade, the Deputy Managing Director of Service Delivery, emphasized this renewed commitment in a statement released on Sunday in Abuja.
The commitment follows the presentation of the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) annual report titled “The Path That Ends AIDS.” This report outlines a trajectory that could potentially end the AIDS epidemic, highlighting significant progress while acknowledging remaining challenges.
Mr Eruchaluade stated that immediate action is required to ensure the world stays on course to achieve critical targets by 2030. SFH is determined to prioritize and reach out to women and key populations as they renew their commitments and strategic priorities.
The report reveals that women and girls are not adequately reached, with approximately 4,000 adolescent girls and young women getting HIV every week. Most of these cases occur in Sub-Saharan Africa due to gaps in HIV prevention programs and gender inequalities.
To end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, the report emphasizes the need for political and financial commitment. Globally, about 39 million people will be living with HIV in 2022.
Addressing these gaps requires international solidarity between affluent and disadvantaged nations. Countries, including Nigeria, must translate their promises into action, renewing their commitment to achieve sustainability. This involves focusing on children and key populations and investing in a sustainable response through prioritized financing.
SFH, in collaboration with multiple partners, has been actively working to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination. They provide safe spaces and promote non-discriminatory laws for key populations. The organization recently inaugurated harm reduction services guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in Nigeria, with SFH offering technical support towards their implementation.
SFH also engages in continuous support for meaningful involvement of young people in and out of schools, education and curriculum development, and voluntary HIV testing to empower community networks. Additionally, they have implemented interventions related to the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) for pregnant women and children.
The organization’s efforts reach thousands of individuals, aiming to empower adolescent girls and young women to make autonomous decisions about their bodies and challenge discriminatory norms that hinder access to healthcare.
SFH consistently focuses on building the capacity of community-based organizations, lower cadre health workers, and networks to facilitate sustainable HIV programming at the community level. Moreover, they collaborate with the National Health Insurance Authority, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, and other sub-national governments to prioritize people and communities in policies and programs, striving to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). This integration of HIV care in Nigeria’s health systems, alongside leadership, governance, and gender equality, will improve overall health.