June 29, 2011
In a Daily Independent opinion piece, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Terence McCulley writes that after "truly historic" elections in April, "[t]he Nigerian Government faces complex challenges in the post-election environment. Security, electricity, good roads, education and reliable health care top most people's lists of immediate concerns."
"Public and private sector economic development is crucial, but cannot succeed if Nigeria's population is weakened by poor health and disease," McCulley writes, noting in particular the country's high number of people living with HIV/AIDS. "The new U.S. Global Health Initiative recognizes that stronger health care delivery systems, focused on basic maternal, child, and newborn health and on prevention, can reduce the deadly consequences of HIV/AIDS, and also help fight other diseases, including malaria and tuberculosis. A coordinated partnership among Nigeria's federal, state, and local government entities is needed: the Nigerian Government has already committed to funding half of what is needed to treat HIV/AIDS patients by 2015. This will allow the U.S. to shift its resources from treatment to prevention and capacity building. A healthier Nigeria is a natural result of good governance and an essential element of the U.S.-Nigeria partnership" (6/28).