Nigeria's AIDS agency seeks tax to bridge funding gap

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria's National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has urged the federal government to introduce an 'HIV/AIDS tax' to help bridge f unding, the private Guardian newspaper reported Friday.
``We need government taxation to fund AIDS,'' the paper quoted NACA Director-Ge neral John Idoko as saying.
''It could be on airlines, beer, maritime, road tran s port.
''These are areas we need to explore and many other countries are already going that way.
'' NACA has a funding gap of 750 billion naira needed to sustain the national treat ment programme by giving another 350,000 persons living with AIDS (PLWAs) access to life-saving drugs (US$1=150 Naira).
It said the number of PLWAs in Nigeria who are in dire need of the life-saving d rugs had increased from 850,000 to 1.
2 million, and that the extra funding is ne e ded to maintain the treatment for the next five years.
UNAIDS said political commitment and funding allocation are waning, a developmen t that could have ''catastrophic implications'' on people who depend on this aid to access HIV prevention, treatment and care.

21 may 2010 08:42:00

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