Nigeria to commence production of anti-retroviral drugs – UNAIDS

By Post Nigeria January 25, 2015 23:00

Nigeria to commence production of anti-retroviral drugs – UNAIDS

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, Country Director, Dr Bilali Camara has announced that four companies in Nigeria will commence production of anti-retroviral drugs.

Camara, who is also the UNAIDS Focal Point for ECOWAS, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja.

He said the local production of anti-retroviral drugs would go a long way in ensuring that people can easily access treatment at a cheaper rate and that it will also help those on life treatment, stressing that people live on treatment for 15 to 30 years.

“We have commenced negotiations with four pharmaceutical companies; the companies have been certified by the World Health Organisation, WHO, for the general manufacturing practices,” he said. The official said WHO would assist to conduct the prequalification processes, “and as soon as that is concluded they will commence the production of the anti-retroviral drugs in Nigeria’’

According to him, many West and Central African states would be beneficiaries of the production as nobody is producing the drugs at the moment in this region and that outside Nigeria, seven million other people from West and Central Africa may need the drugs for treatment.

He said this advancement in Nigeria shows that there is good return of investment to the companies and that UNAIDS would enter into partnership with telecommunication companies to ensure that basic information about HIV/AIDS was advertised as this would assist to further increase access to treatment to 101 million people in Nigeria are targeted.

“We want to give more people access to basic information on HIV/AIDS. We want our target to know how to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV where and how to get HIV/AIDS related services. So that in the next few years we have more people accessing the services which many result into many infants born HIV positive mothers and born infants without the disease,” he said.

“if we do it correctly it will effect on the overall HIV transmission in the country’’. Camara said:

“Things are going in the right direction, more people are on treatment, more people are accessing preventive measures and new infections are coming down. It is not as speedy as we want it but clearly things are on the right track.”