Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Obasanjo Says Nigerian HIV/Aids Rate is Dwindling

I'm extremely sceptical about the veracity of this claim. Is the HIV prevalance rate really dropping, or is all we're seeing here the same old story of yet another downwards revision of over-estimated numbers, as has been the case in much of Eastern and Central Africa?

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday met with the United States Ambassador of the HIV/AIDS, Ambassador Randall Tobias and declared that Nigeria had recorded a reduction in the national prevalence of the endemic from 5.8 to 5.0 per cent.

The figure is based on recent Sentital surveys. the President told Ambassador Tobias that the United States should appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Federal Government and all concerned in the fight to avoid starting the fight against HIV/AIDS from the start.
It would be nice if it were true that Obasanjo's government was recording successes in the fight against AIDS, but I'm not about to let my hopes blind me to the reality that such a triumph just isn't in keeping with the record of incompetence that he and all of his predecessors in office have accumulated over the years.

I'm extremely dubious about the provenance of the figures Obasanjo provides - I've never heard of any organization by the name "Sentital", and a quick check on Google does nothing to throw further light on the issue. Until I get better-sourced information to the contrary, I'm not willing to give any weight whatsoever to his claims of success.