Sub-Saharan Africa: 430,000 Individuals Died from AIDS Due to COVID-19 Lockdown, Says NACA

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The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has estimated that 430,000 individuals in sub-Saharan African may have lost their lives due to the six months disruption in treatment as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Dr. Gambo Gumel Aliyu, the Director-General of NACA said this during the presentation of the 2020 quarterly performance factsheet at a press conference in Abuja.

He said a total of $6.2 billion was spent to identify and treat 1,080,000 of the estimated persons living with HIV from 2005 to 2018.

Of the $6.2 billion investment, NACA said $5 billion (about N1.2 trillion) were sourced from the international donors.

While quoting statistics from United Nations AIDS Control programme (UNAIDS), NACA said the rise in the death toll came against a significant drop in Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) within the period of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In order to boost intervention efforts, NACA stated there would be need for an additional investment of $2.4 billion to be able reach the United Nations’ epidemic control target in the next three years.

NACA, a body charged with the responsibility of driving the federal government’s efforts to tackle HIV-AIDS epidemic, explained that the amount would be needed to identify and treat additional 540,000 persons living with HIV by testing 50 million persons to know their status.

He stated that HIV sample transfer mechanism was adopted for COVID-19 response in four states.

The presentation was centred on the impact of COVID-19 on HIV response, status of the epidemic, investment over the last decade and HIV infrastructural support for COVID-19.

He disclosed that about 25 to 30 percent of COVID-19 tests were conducted using HIV mega laboratories in the country.