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The impact of COVID-19 on HIV financing in Nigeria: a call for proactive measures
  1. Tolulope Tokunyori Oladele1,
  2. Babayemi Oluwaseun Olakunde1,
  3. Edward Adekola Oladele2,
  4. Osondu Ogbuoji3,
  5. Gavin Yamey3
  1. 1 Community Prevention and Care Services Department, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Abuja, Nigeria
  2. 2 Infectious Diseases and Health Systems Department, FHI 360, Abuja, Nigeria
  3. 3 Duke Center for Policy Impact in Global Health, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tolulope Tokunyori Oladele; toladelet{at}

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Summary box

  • COVID-19, the most devastating pandemic since the 1918 influenza pandemic, has had severe health and economic impacts, including in Nigeria.

  • Nigeria has the third largest HIV epidemic worldwide.

  • Despite the onset of COVID-19, efforts to control HIV cannot be abandoned.

  • HIV funding must be protected from the ongoing shocks to the Nigerian economy, so that Nigeria does not lose the health gains achieved over the past decades.

  • Bold proactive steps are needed, such as integrating HIV into the National Health Insurance Scheme, locking in donor commitments to HIV and building a robust health system.


The COVID-19 pandemic started in late 2019 in Wuhan province, China, and was reported on 30 December 2019 to the WHO.1 By 30 January 2020, WHO declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.2 As of 4 May 2020, the WHO had documented 3 407 747 confirmed cases and 238 198 deaths worldwide.3

Worldwide economic disruption has resulted from COVID-19 control measures such as stay at home orders (‘lockdowns’). The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that the cost of the outbreak globally is US$2 trillion so far and predicts a global recession in 2020.4 The deceleration in global economic growth has demand-side causes, such as lockdowns and rising unemployment, and supply-side causes, such as a weakened global supply of many goods due to the abrupt shutdown of production lines.

Nigeria has experienced these health and economic impacts. Its first case was identified on 27 February 2020 and by 2 May 2020, there were 2170 confirmed cases and 38 deaths.5 The relatively low number of cases and deaths compared with countries with similar populations in Africa (e.g. Egypt) may be due to limited test kits and laboratories, under-reporting and public health control measures.

In this commentary, we describe the economic shocks …

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