The director-general of National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), Sani Aliyu, says Nigeria needs to "stop this dependency culture", citing overwhelming reliance on foreign donor funds to run its health sector programme and response.
Speaking at the Health Watch Forum organised by Nigeria Health Watch in Abuja, Aliyu said much of Nigeria's funding contribution to its HIV response was spent on salaries, not commodities required.
"70 percent of HIV response is driven by donors; 26% by federal and state governments but it is actually salaries and not commodities," he said.
He cited one round of funding in which the US government and Global Fund contributed $155 million, compared with $1.5 million put in by Nigeria.
"Most of the cost when it comes to HIV is the commodities. What we need is to get down and be honest with ourselves—are we investing in health?" Aliyu queried.
"HIV is important because it affects the productive population. Health is an issue and we need to invest properly. We need to stop this dependency culture."
Aliyu is among five professionals appointed last year to head major health agencies in Nigeria to speak on the forum's theme "Does leadership matter?"
Organisers of the forum said Nigerians expectations have risen about the five, their capacity to change things, their plans to transform their institutions, and how that will affect the lives of millions of Nigerians.
The other health sector agency heads on the forum include Faisal Shuaib of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Usman Yusuf of the National Health Insurance Scheme and Chikwe Ihekweazu of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
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