By Hassan Zaggi
The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), has advised the federal government to urgently fulfil its commitment by procuring antiretroviral drugs and test kits for its members in the country.
This, it said, was to enable Nigeria achieve UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals, which it failed to attain by the end of 2020.
In a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Network of PLHIV in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the group warned that failure by the government to meet its commitment would force it to take an unusual action.
“We are currently talking with the Federal Ministry of Health to fast-track the release of available resources in the Ministry to procure HIV drugs and test kits to keep Nigerians living with HIV alive, and we hope that by the end of the second week of January, approval and release would have been granted by the Minister of Health and his team, to redeem Nigeria’s commitment and respect in the eyes of the international community, and to also demonstrate the importance of global solidarity and shared responsibility to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat.
“Failure to meet this commitment within the stipulated time will surely propel the people living with HIV in Nigeria to advise themselves for their voices to be heard by the world.
“We hope we shall not be compelled to such an action once the Federal Ministry of Health do the right thing,” the group said.
NEPWHAN further said it is looking forward to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to quickly update it and the HIV partners on the status of the procurement of antiretroviral drugs into the national HIV commodity pool.
NEPWHAN applauded the efforts and commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari, for providing all resources for HIV treatment.
“With the commitment made by Mr. President, approvals by the Federal Ministry of Health should not be delayed any further in providing adequate treatment for persons living with HIV, as part of Government efforts to meet its co-financing and counterparts funding requirements requested by our generous donors, especially the Global Fund, which just gave Nigeria about $900 million to address HIV, TB and Malaria in the country,” the group further said.