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Cablegate: World Aids Day

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 003143

SIPDIS


AID ADM


USAID/W FOR AFR/WA, MIKE KARBELING
ABUJA FOR ADMIN


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT APER ECON PREL
SUBJECT: WORLD AIDS DAY


REF: RE: WORLD AIDS DAY


1. SUMMARY: ON SATURDAY DECEMBER 1, THE NATIONAL
ACTION COMMITTEE FOR AIDS (NACA) ORGANIZED A DAYLONG
CALENDAR OF EVENTS TO COMMEMORATE WORLD AIDS DAY IN
ABUJA THAT INCLUDED A PLENARY SESSION FOR MAJOR
GOVERNMENT AND NON-GOVERNMENT ACTORS, A CITY TOUR AND
RALLY, AND A SOCCER COMPETITION. THE PLENARY SESSION
INCLUDED BRIEFINGS BY MINISTRY AND DONOR
REPRESENTATIVES OUTLINING THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE
NATIONAL HIV/AIDS EFFORT, AND AN EVENT HONORING PEOPLE
LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). THE CONCLUSIONS THAT CAN
BE DRAWN FROM ATTENDANCE AT THIS SESSION ARE AS
FOLLOWS: 1) NACA IS NOW FIRMLY IN CHARGE OF THE
NATIONAL PROGRAM AND THE APPROACH IS AVOWEDLY MULTI-
SECTORAL. FOR INSTANCE, THE MINISTERS OF WOMEN AFFAIRS
AND LABOR PERSONALLY REPORTED ON THEIR ACTIVITIES WHILE
OTHER MINISTERS WERE REPRESENTED BY OTHER HIGH LEVEL
FUNCTIONARIES. 2) THE PROMINENCE OF PLWHAS IN THE
PROGRAM SIGNIFIES INCREASED NACA/GFRN ACCEPTANCE OF
THEIR CRITICAL ROLE IN DISEASE MITIGATION. IN THE
FUTURE PLWHAS ARE CERTAIN TO FIGURE CENTRALLY IN
NATIONAL EFFORTS TO ALLEVIATE STIGMA AND
DISCRIMINATION. 3) SEVERAL PLWHAS MADE FRANK COMMENTS
ABOUT GOVERNMENTAL HIV/AIDS INTERVENTIONS AND THE
EXISTENCE OF GOVERNMENTAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST
PLWHAS. THIS DEMONSTRATED A FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION THAT
DID NOT EXIST PRIOR TO THE DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION. THE
REPRESENTATIVE OF THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE ALSO CITED
USAID AS THE MAJOR PARTNER SUPPORTING ITS CRITICAL
ACTIVITIES SEVERAL TIMES DURING HIS PRESENTATION. THE
ENTIRE DAY EVENTS WERE WELL COVERED BY THE MEDIA BUT
THE POOR QUALITY OF THAT COVERAGE SUGGESTS A CRITICAL
NEED FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE.


2. NACA LEADERSHIP: NACA ORGANIZATION OF THIS
ACTIVITY AND THE DEGREE OF REPRESENTATION FROM ALL
SECTORS SUGGEST THAT THE ORGANIZATION HAS FINALLY COME
OF AGE AND IS IN CHARGE OF THE NATION HIV/AIDS
RESPONSE. CDC AND USAID HAVE BEEN MAJOR SUPPORTERS OF
NACA SINCE THE ORGANIZATION CREATION AND OF THE
MULTI-SECTOR APPROACH. IN ADDITION, THE PRESENCE OF
GENERALLY HIGH LEVEL MINISTRY REPRESENTATIVES AND THEIR
REPORTS ON THE ACTIVITIES BEING IMPLEMENTED IN EACH OF
THE MINISTRIES SUGGESTS THAT THE MINISTRIES ARE BEING
HELD PUBLICLY ACCOUNTABLE FOR DOING HIV/AIDS
ACTIVITIES. HOWEVER, THE TWO PROGRAMS THAT APPEAR TO
HAVE SUBSTANCE ARE ALSO THE ONLY ONES RECEIVING
ASSISTANCE FROM OUTSIDE DONORS; THE MINISTRY OF LABOR
AND PRODUCTIVITY RECEIVES HELP FROM THE INTERNATIONAL
LABOR ORGANIZATION AND THE MINISTRY OF DEFENSE RECEIVES
USAID FUNDING. THE LACK OF REAL SUBSTANCE OF MOST OF
THE PROGRAMS SUGGESTS THAT CERTAIN KEY MINISTRIES HAVE
A CRITICAL NEED FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE AND CAPACITY
BUILDING IN HIV/AIDS PROGRAMMING.


3. PLWHAS: AN EVENT SPOTLIGHTING PLWHAS WAS A MAJOR
COMPONENT OF THE PLENARY SESSION AND INCLUDED THE
PRESENTATION OF PLWHAS TO THE GUESTS OF HONOR AND
SPEECHES BY MUHAMMAD FAROUK, NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF
THE USAID-SUPPORTED NATIONAL AIDS ALLIANCE, AND SENATOR
KHAIRAT GWADABE, WHO WAS REPRESENTING THE PRESIDENT OF
THE SENATE. MR. FAROUK CONGRATULATED THE GFRN ON ITS
LEADERSHIP ROLE IN THE PLANNED PROVISION OF ANTIVIRALS
WHILE HE ALSO MADE A PLEA FOR THE DRUG PROVISION
PROGRAM TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY WELL ORGANIZED AND MANAGED.
ACCORDING TO HIM, AN ILL-MANAGED ANTIVIRAL PROGRAM
RUNS THE RISK OF DEVASTATING RATHER THAN IMPROVING THE
HEALTH OF PLWHAS. SENATOR GWADABE MADE A GRACIOUS
SPEECH IN WHICH SHE COMMENDED THE PLWHAS PRESENT FOR
THEIR COURAGE IN OING PUBLIC ITH THE DISEASE AND
FOR THEIR SERVICE TO THE NATION IN DOING SO. ONE
PLWHA, A SERVING LIEUTENANT IN THE NIGERIAN NAVY,
CRITICIZED THE ARMED FORCES FOR THEIR DISCRIMINATION
AGAINST PLWHAS INCLUDING THE DENIAL OF THEIR RIGHTS AND
PRIVILEGES. HE CITED, FOR INSTANCE, THE EXISTENCE OF
SPECIAL ISOLATED HOSPITAL WARDS FOR PLWHAS, THE LACK OF
MEDICINES TO TREAT THE OPPORTUNISTIC INFECTIONS OF
ARMED FORCES MEMBERS, AND THE REFUSAL TO SEND PLWHAS ON
OVERSEAS ASSIGNMENTS OR FOR OVERSEAS TRAINING. THE
LIEUTENANT ALSO CRITICIZED THE MINISTERS WHO WERE NOT
PRESENT AT THE SESSION BUT WHO INSTEAD WERE BLY
REPRESENTED Y OTHERS. HE SAID THE MINISTERS WOULD BE
THERE PERSONALLY IF VOTES WERE INVOLVED AND THUS URGED
ALL PLWHAS TO VOTE.


4. THE MEDIA: AN OPEN PRESS SESSION NEAR THE END OF THE
MEETING UNDERLINED THE NEED TO REINFORCE ONGOING
EFFORTS TO EDUCATE THE PRINT AND BROADCAST MEDIA ON
ISSUES INVOLVING HIV/AIDS. ONE QUESTION DIRECTED TO
THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, FOR
INSTANCE, ASKED WHEN LEGISLATION WOULD BE PASSED TO
PROHIBIT HIV+ WOMEN FROM HAVING CHILDREN AND THUS FROM
PASSING ON THE VIRUS. THIS QUESTION WAS PROBABLY
STIMULATED BY THE STATISTICS CONCERNING MOTHER TO CHILD
TRANSMISSION (I.E. ONE-THIRD OF AFRICAN BABIES BORN TO
HIV INFECTED MOTHERS WILL BE UNINTENTIONALLY INFECTED
VIA CHILD BIRTH AND BREASTFEEDING) GIVEN DURING
PRELIMINARY SPEECHES AND THE PRESENCE AMONG THE PLWHAS
OF SEVERAL WOMEN WITH YOUNG CHILDREN AND/OR PREGNANT.
THIS QUESTION AND SEVERAL OTHERS SHOWING LACK OF
UNDERSTANDING ESPECIALLY OF THE HUMAN AND REPRODUCTIVE
RIGHTS OF PLWHAS DREW IMMEDIATE, NEGATIVE REACTIONS
FROM THE CROWD. SEVERAL PROPOSALS TO INCREASE THE
MEDIA CAPACITY TO REPORT ON HIV/AIDS ISSUES ARE
CURRENTLY UNDER REVIEW.


5. THOMAS HOBGOOD, USAID DIRECTOR, WHO DELIVERED A
SHORT SPEECH OUTLINING US SUPPORT TO THE FIGHT AGAINST
HIV/AIDS BOTH INTERNATIONALLY AND IN NIGERIA,
REPRESENTED THE USG. THE BODY OF HIS SPEECH IS AS
FOLLOWS:


R. CHAIRMAN, REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SENATE
PRESIDENT, HONORABLE MINISTERS AND THEIR
REPRESENTATIVES, MEMBERS OF THE HIGH TABLE,
NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, YOUNG PEOPLE OF
NIGERIA, PEOPLE LIVING WITH AIDS HERE PRESENT,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:


I AM PLEASED TO BE HERE AND TO GIVE A GOODWILL
MESSAGE ON BEHALF OF THE US GOVERNMENT ON THIS
WORLD AIDS DAY. THE US GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES
THE SERIOUSNESS OF HIV/AIDS FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE
AROUND THE WORLD. LAST YEAR MORE PEOPLE
CONTRACTED HIV AND MORE DIED OF AIDS THAN IN ANY
OTHER YEAR. EIGHTY PERCENT OF ALL GLOBAL AIDS
DEATHS AND 70 PERCENT OF ALL NEW HIV INFECTIONS
ARE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA. AN ESTIMATED 34
MILLION AFRICANS ARE CURRENTLY INFECTED WITH THE
VIRUS AND OVER 3 MILLION OF THAT TOTAL ARE
NIGERIANS. WE ARE PARTICULARLY GRATIFIED TO SEE
SO MANY PEOPLE HERE TODAY UNDER THE GOVERNMENT
LEADERSHIP OF PRESIDENT OBASANJO AND NGOS ALL
INDICATING THEIR SUPPORT TO COMBAT THE AIDS
EPIDEMIC IN NIGERIA. THE EPIDEMIC HAS EVOLVED
FROM A HEALTH ISSUE TO ONE THAT IMPACTS ON ALL
SECTORS, THEREBY NECESSITATING A COLLECTIVE AND
URGENT RESPONSE. IN MANY COUNTRIES IT IS
CONSIDERED A MATTER OF NATIONAL SECURITY.


US GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE INTERNATIONALLY:


(A). THE UNITED STATES IS THE LARGEST BILATERAL
DONOR OF HIV/AIDS ASSISTANCE, CURRENTLY PROVIDING
NEARLY 40 PERCENT OF ALL INTERNATIONAL HIV/AIDS
FUNDING. SINCE 1986, THROUGH THE U.S. AGENCY FOR
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ALONE, THE U.S.
GOVERNMENT HAS DEDICATED OVER $1.6 BILLION FOR THE
PREVENTION AND MITIGATION OF THE HIV/AIDS EPIDEMIC
IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD.


(B). THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS CONTINUED THIS
LEADERSHIP. THIS YEAR, USAID HIV/AIDS BUDGET
WILL INCREASE OVER LAST YEAR'S, AND PRESIDENT BUSH
ANNOUNCED THAT THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE THE
FIRST DONOR TO THE NEW GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT AIDS,
TUBERCULOSIS, AND MALARIA, WITH AN INITIAL PLEDGE
OF $200 MILLION.


US GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE IN NIGERIA


(A). THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT IS ONE OF THE
LARGEST BILATERAL DONORS OF HIV/AIDS ASSISTANCE IN
NIGERIA. THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL
PROGRAM PROVIDES TECHNICAL
ASSISTANCE AND MATERIAL
SUPPORT AMOUNTING TO APPROXIMATELY $1.5 MILLION
ANNUALLY. USAID FUNDING FOR HIV/AIDS PROGRAMS HAS
INCREASED FROM $2.6 MILLION IN 1999 TO $12.3
MILLION IN 2001, AND IS EXPECTED TO INCREASE IN
2003. BOTH US GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS WORK TO PROMOTE
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE HIV/AIDS EMERGENCY ACTION
PLAN (HEAP) AND WORK CLOSELY WITH THE NATIONAL
ACTION COMMITTEE ON AIDS (NACA).


THE MAJOR ACTIVITIES SUPPORTED UNDER THE CENTERS
FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) PROGRAM ARE:


(A). SUPPORT TO THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT TO CONDUCT
HIV/SYPHILIS SEROPREVALENCE SURVEYS.
SEROPREVALENCE SURVEYS ARE NECESSARY TO ESTIMATE
THE MAGNITUDE OF THE HIV/AIDS PROBLEM IN NIGERIA
AND ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO DEVELOP APPROPRIATE
STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS THE EPIDEMIC. THE FEDERAL
MINISTER OF HEALTH ANNOUNCED THE RESULTS OF THE
LATEST 2001 CDC SUPPORTED SURVEY ON THURSDAY.


(B). BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF SELECT LABORATORIES
TO PROVIDE QUALITY HIV TEST RESULTS. FOR
INSTANCE, THE CDC RECENTLY CONDUCTED A NEEDS
ASSESSMENT AND PROVIDED TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO
THE ABUJA REFERENCE LABORATORY.


(C). ESTABLISH VOLUNTARY AND CONFIDENTIAL
COUNSELING PROGRAMS. SUCH PROGRAMS WILL SERVE AS
CRITICAL ENTRY POINTS TO THE NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR
PREVENTION OF MOTHER TO CHILD TRANSMISSION, CARE
AND SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH AND THOSE
AFFECTED BY HIV/AIDS, MANAGEMENT OF SEXUALLY
TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS, AND IMPROVED BLOOD DONOR
SERVICES.


THE MAJOR FOCUSES OF THE USAID PROGRAM ARE:


A). DEVELOPMENT OF A POSITIVE POLICY ENVIRONMENT
IN SUPPORT OF HIGH QUALITY HIV/AIDS SERVICES. THE
POLICY PROJECT WORKS CLOSELY WITH NACA, THE
FEDERAL MINISTRY OF HEALTH AIDS CONTROL PROGRAM,
THE ARMED FORCES, JOURNALISTS, RELIGIOUS LEADERS,
AND HUMAN RIGHTS LEADERS AMONG OTHERS TO CREATE
WIDESPREAD GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY SUPPORT
FOR HIV/AIDS INTERVENTIONS.


B). PREVENTION: NATIONWIDE, USAID CURRENTLY FUNDS
A SOCIAL MARKETING PROJECT WITH POPULATION
SERVICES INTERNATIONAL AND THE SOCIETY FOR FAMILY
HEALTH, A LOCAL NGO, TO PROMOTE RISK REDUCTION
BEHAVIOR AND USE OF PROVEN PREVENTIVE PRACTICES.
THESE EFFORTS ARE COMPLIMENTED BY FAMILY HEALTH
INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT OF 56 COMMUNITY-BASED
PROJECTS THAT TARGET MULTIPLE POPULATIONS IN 12
STATES WITHIN THE 6 GEOPOLITICAL ZONES OF THE
COUNTRY. JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY ALSO SUPPORTS
THE ONLY PHONE HOTLINE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING
CONFIDENTIAL, ANONYMOUS INFORMATION ABOUT THE

SIPDIS
DISEASE.


C). CARE AND SUPPORT OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH AND
AFFECTED BY HIV/AIDS: FAMILY HEALTH INTERNATIONAL,
CEDPA, AND AFRICARE PROVIDE CARE AND SUPPORT
SERVICES FOR HIV POSITIVE PERSONS AND THEIR
FAMILIES AND ASSISTANCE TO ORPHANS AND OTHER
VULNERABLE CHILDREN AFFECTED BY HIV/AIDS.


IN ADDITION TO THE EXCELLENT EFFORTS THE
GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA IS MAKING TO FIGHT THIS
TERRIBLE DISEASE, I WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE
VALIANT EFFORT OF CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS SUCH
AS:


(A) THE NIGERIAN AIDS ALLIANCE
(B) SOCIETY FOR WOMEN AGAINST AIDS IN NIGERIA
(SWAAN)
(C) MUSLIMS SISTERS ORGANIZATION
(D) CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA
(E) NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS


MR. CHAIRMAN, HONORABLE MINISTERS, AND SENATE
PRESIDENT: YOU HAVE THE US GOVERNMENT COMPLETE
COMMITMENT AND FULL SUPPORT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST
HIV/AIDS. THANK YOU. ETER.

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