UN Commends Buhari For Being Early Champion Of People’s Vaccine Campaign
12 March 2021
In her meeting with the President, Ms. Byanyima, discussed Nigeria’s response to the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19.
UNAIDS Executive Director and United Nations Under-Secretary-General, Winnie Byanyima, has thanked the President of Nigeria, H.E. Muhammadu Buhari, for being an early champion of the People’s Vaccine campaign, which is calling for a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines against the coronavirus to ensure that poorer countries are not left behind in the response.
The UNAIDS Executive Director said this during a courtesy visit to President Buhari at the State House Abuja. Ms Byanyima was on an official visit to Nigeria from March 8 to 10, her first to the country since taking up her post in November 2019.
Nigeria began to vaccinate frontline health workers on 5 March after taking delivery of 4 million doses of vaccine, facilitated through COVAX, the international mechanism set up to bulk buy vaccines and distribute them equitably worldwide.
In her meeting with the President, Ms. Byanyima, discussed Nigeria’s response to the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19. The meeting was part of her three-day visit to the country, which also included visits to communities on the frontline of the response and events to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March.
Ms Byanyima also applauded the country’s progress against the HIV pandemic and said UNAIDS stood ready to strengthen its partnership with Nigeria to further reduce the impact of the HIV pandemic and end AIDS as a public health threat as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“Nigeria has made good progress on expanding the delivery of HIV testing, treatment and care services over recent years, contributing to a steep decline in AIDS-related deaths,” said Ms Byanyima, “I look forward to reinforcing UNAIDS’ partnership with government, communities and all other stakeholders to drive new HIV infections down and kick-start a decade of action to end AIDS as a public health threat for everyone.” She also met community activists, who have been instrumental in minimizing the disruption to HIV testing, treatment and care services despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to contain it.