Nigeria sets up $149 million fund to fight HIV/AIDS

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People walk past a bus during an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign on the occasion of World AIDS Day at the Kuchingoro IDPs camp in Abuja, Nigeria December 1, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

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ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria on Tuesday launched a 62 billion naira ($149 million) fund to help fight HIV/AIDS, especially targeting the prevention of mother-to-child transmissions as foreign funding for such programmes was under strain due to focus on COVID-19.

Some two million Nigerians live with HIV/AIDS, while more than 22,000 mother-to-child transmission cases are reported annually, official data shows.

The HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria is being spearheaded by the country's national AIDS agency and local businesses.

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"Ending AIDS as a public health threat in Nigeria will require increased domestic funding," President Muhammadu Buhari said at the launch of the fund also attended by Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote.

Since 2005, Nigeria has spent $6.2 billion on HIV prevention and treatment, with 80% of the money coming from foreign donors, mainly the United States, said Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the federation.

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS had in the last three years put an additional 900,000 people on treatment to bring the total to 1.7 million, its chief said.

$1 = 415.33 naira

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