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July 23, 2024

CCN Sounds Alarm: 160,000 children living with HIV in Nigeria, urges immediate action

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The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) has issued a poignant call to the government and stakeholders across the country to intensify efforts in combating the alarming prevalence of HIV/AIDS among children, revealing that an estimated 160,000 children currently live with HIV in Nigeria, with only a fraction receiving treatment.

This urgent plea was made during the closing ceremony of the HIV intervention program jointly implemented by CCN and the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Abuja over the weekend.

Representing CCN President Most Rev. David Onuoha, Archbishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa expressed deep concern over the distressing statistics and emphasized the need for immediate action: “Our mission is to identify with the needy and less privileged, and to make a positive impact on their lives. Our efforts have been enriching and impactful. We are committed to combating the HIV epidemic in our society, and we urge all relevant NGOs and government agencies to join us in this crusade.”

Highlighting the severity of the situation, Archbishop Ogunmuyiwa stressed, “While we have made some progress in preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child, we still have much work to do. According to statistics, Nigeria has a high number of children who are HIV victims – 160,000, with only 45,000 undergoing treatment. This is unacceptable, and we must do more to address this issue.”

Ms. Gracias Ross, representing the World Council of Churches, echoed these sentiments and underscored the organization’s commitment to supporting Nigeria in combating HIV/AIDS:

“160,000 children are living with HIV, but remember that two million people are living with HIV in Nigeria. They will have partners and children. In what condition will these children be born? We must change things. If these children are alone and don’t have a family, the church has to be their family.”

Ms. Ross continued, emphasizing the role of the Church in providing guidance and support to young people facing challenges related to sexuality: “You can imagine how many young people don’t have any positive orientation on sexuality. So the Church should be bringing light to these large numbers of young people in Nigeria who are not having information.”

Rev. Dr. Evans Onyemara, the General Secretary of the CCN, expressed gratitude for the WCC’s steadfast support and acknowledged the contributions of partners and stakeholders, including the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Christian Health Association of Nigeria (CHAN):

“When I resumed as the General Secretary of the Council, the HIV Programme was one of the projects that I inherited, organized by the World Council of Churches Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative and Advocacy (WCC-EHAIA) and implemented through the West African Regional Office in Lome Togo.”

Dr. Onyemara added, “We appreciate the support of our partners and acknowledge their contributions. We look forward to continuing our work together and celebrating our successes in the future.”

The event, which featured goodwill messages from various stakeholders, emphasized the critical need for sustained collaboration and concerted efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, particularly among vulnerable children.

The CCN’s call comes amid ongoing efforts nationwide to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS and ensure comprehensive care and treatment for affected individuals, underscoring the importance of collective action in addressing public health challenges.

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