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The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is implemented by the Department of State PEPFAR Coordination Office (PCO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and WRP-N. As part of the activities commemorating PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary, the broader Nigeria PEPFAR community united to celebrate the Nigerians who have contributed significantly to the fight against HIV/AIDS.  A reception to honor these heroes took place in June 2019, and was hosted by the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. W. Stuart Symington.

A total of 16 people were recognized as “PEPFAR Heroes”, in appreciation of their courage, selflessness and exemplary dedication at an era in Nigeria when HIV/AIDS was a death sentence.  Six of those honored were from the partnership of the Nigerian Ministry of Defence and the Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (NMOD/WRP-N). They are:  Dr. Patrick (COL rtd.) Matemilola, MWO Musa Emmanuel (rtd.), and the past Directors General of the NMOD Health Implementation Program – Major General Ogbonnaya Njoku (rtd.), Major General Tahir Umar (rtd.), Major General Life Ajemba (rtd.) and Brigadier General Nurudeen Hussain (rtd.).

The Heroes in garlands

Ambassador Symington emphasized the impact of PEPFAR with these words: “Since 2003, PEPFAR has transformed lives through access to lifesaving prevention and treatment services.  Thanks to our partnership with the peoples of many nations, the American people have kept this commitment over the past 15 years.  Today, our global commitment stands at $80 billion dollars, combating what has been described as the worst human scourge in history.  In Nigeria, we have committed $5 billion U.S. dollars to the fight against HIV/AIDS since the inception of PEPFAR.”