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Ambassador Deborah Birx signs $469 Country Operating Plan in Nigeria
June 16, 2017, Ambassador Deborah Birx, the United States Global Health Coordinator, was in Nigeria where she carried out the historic task of signing Nigeria’s Country Operating Plan (COP) for the fiscal year of 2018. Historic because it is the first time such an activity is taking place within the confines of that country. “It is the first time that we have ever signed a U.S. government commitment on HIV/AIDS to a country, in that country”, says Amb. Birx. She continues, “this day will be remembered not only because of the historic nature of signing this but this will be the day we all commit with the government, with our multilateral partners and communities, and not only are we going to understand the epidemic for the first time with our commitment to the survey and to really define the depth and breadth of the HIV/AIDS epidemics in Nigeria but also commit to controlling the pandemic by 2020.”
The COP budgeted at 469 million dollars will support HIV prevention, care, and treatment programs in Nigeria. According to Amb. Birx, this budget is dependent on a performance based approach.
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, witnessed the signing and urged all Nigerians not to think of an excuse to blame someone else, in his proverbial saying that the fish rots in the head. He encouraged, “I urge you to contemplate how far a fish could swim without a tail and think of yourselves as driving forward this success.”
Responding on behalf of the Nigerian government, the Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu conveyed the deep appreciation of the government and people of Nigeria of the U.S. government assistance to the country on HIV/AIDS control. Since its inception in Nigeria in 2004, PEPFAR has disbursed more than $4.3 billion in support of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS response.