Former deputy Minister of Health, Dr Victor Bampoe, now with the Joint UN Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) in Geneva as Coordinator since June 2017, has been reassigned to Abuja as UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria, reports reaching ghanahealthnest.com indicates.
Dr Bampoe’s appointment, which took effect this month (November 2018) is temporary, will last until early next year, sources close to UNAIDS says.
Dr Bampoe was spotted at Nigeria’s celebration of World AIDS Day in Abuja today as part of the UN delegation to the function led by UN Resident Coordinator Edward Kallon. The Nigerian government delegation was led by Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha.
The theme for this year’s celebration, which marks the 30th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day is “Know Your Status”.
According to a latest UNAIDS data, Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world with 3.1 million people living with HIV (2017). It is estimated that around two-thirds of new HIV infections in West and Central Africa in 2017 occurred in Nigeria. Together with South Africa and Uganda, the country accounts for around half of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa every year.
The Nigerian Ministry of Health and National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) under the dynamic leadership of Dr Sani Aliyu, and with funding from the US government and Global Fund, are undertaking the largest AIDS survey in a single country at a cost of $100 million. UNAIDS and WHO are playing a central role in managing the survey, which will give a true picture of the AIDS epidemic in Nigeria. The results are due by March 2019. Things are thus at a critical stage in Nigeria regarding the AIDS response and all other countries in the sub- region and the world are watching closely.