• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Temitope Ilori: NACA’s new DG, Bisi Akande’s daughter

Temitope Ilori: NACA’s new DG, Bisi Akande’s daughter

Temitope Ilori in February set a rare precedent at the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) as she became the first female director-general ever appointed in the 24 years of the organisation’s history.

It is unclear if President Bola Tinubu had it in mind to rejig what had become an enduring legacy of gender imbalance in the leadership of NACA when he appointed Ilori, a well-rounded public health expert.

What is certain is that Ilori’s appointment now places women on the path to paddle Nigeria out of the scourge of an illness that disproportionately affects women than men.

Out of 1.7 million people living with HIV in Nigeria as of 2020, the prevalence was highest among the female adult population, at 1.6 percent.

Ilori is one of the children of Bisi Akande, former governor of Osun state and top chieftain of Nigeria’s ruling political party, All Progressives Congress.

She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and her MBBS degree from the same university.

She also has a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Ibadan.

She is a Fellow of the West African College of Physicians (Family Medicine) and has acquired training in Practical Financial Management from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), Liverpool, UK.

She has also undergone the Leadership Training for Physicians Executives at the Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.

She similarly attended a Leadership and Management Training in Health Course at the University of Washington.

Ilori is one of the pioneer faculty members of the unit of Family Medicine in the Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan and an Honorary Consultant Family Physician to the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Her research areas of interest include Lifestyle Medicine, Public Health Nutrition, Non-Communicable Diseases, and Women’s Health.

She distinguished herself as the best graduating Fellow of the Faculty of Family Medicine, West African College of Physicians, in April 2012, earning the prestigious A.O. Senbanjo Prize.

Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Ibadan.

Her scholarly pursuits extend further as she pursues her PhD at the Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, sponsored by the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa.

Ilori’s research interests span Primary Care, Immunisation, Public Health Nutrition, Non-Communicable Diseases, and Women’s and Child’s Health.

She has contributed significantly to the scientific community with over 30 publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Ilori has been actively involved in policy formulation and strategic development. She served as the commissioner for Health in Osun State, Nigeria, from 2011 to 2014, and as the chairperson of the Osun State Agency on Control of HIV/AIDS and the Osun State Technical Working Group on Immunisation.

Ilori’s appointment is expected to bring renewed vigor and expertise to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, as she leads NACA in its crucial mission to control and mitigate the impact of the disease nationwide.

AIDS in Nigeria

Nigeria has the world’s second highest burden of HIV/AIDS, with an estimated three million people living with HIV (PLHIV) and 190,950 new infections recorded in 2015, according to UNICEF.

Approximately 260,000 children aged 0 to 14 years were living with HIV in Nigeria in 2015, with 41,000 new infections occurring among children, and only 17 per cent of children living with HIV having access to antiretroviral therapy (ART).

A study based on predictive modelling estimates that the national HIV prevalence was 2.1 among adults aged 15 to 49 years in Nigeria as of 2021.

This corresponds to approximately two million people living with HIV, compared to previous national HIV prevalence estimates of 1.4 percent from the 2018 NAIIS and UNAIDS estimation and projection package PLHIV estimation of 1.8 million in 2022.

The modelling shows that HIV prevalence in Nigeria varies by state, with Benue having the highest prevalence, followed by Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Edo, and Taraba.

Nigeria’s HIV epidemic is generalised, with extensive regional variations in prevalence.

The opportunities for children to access diagnosis and care is limited.