PLWHA raises alarm over ARV scarcity

Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) in the FCT has raised alarm that the lives of about 76, 000 of its members are at risk following the scarcity of one of the component drugs of the Anti-Retroviral therapy, Nevirapin in the territory.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, the FCT coordinator of NEPWHAN, Mr. John Okene, said that many of their members who had gone for checkup in hospitals within the territory were told that the drug wasn’t available and the situation had been the same for a long time now.

He said “because the drugs are supposed to be taken daily, those who fail to take them consistently over a period are at the risk of a relapse in their condition, which could lead to death.”
Okene also accused the Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, of stigmatising and neglecting his members, saying several efforts to have audience with the minister since 2012 over the concerns and challenges of members of the network had met brick walls just as privileges due to them in the 2013 budget had been denied them.

He listed some of the challenges militating against the network in the FCT to include the non-composition of a board for the FCT Action Committee on AIDS (FACA), preference of unknown NGOs to carry out World Bank HIV projects in the FCT in 2013 to the detriment of NEPWHAN, death of members due to lack of care and support even though it is captured in the FCT 2013 HIV response budget, and failure to commence work on the N16.9 million NEPWHAN Multipurpose Centre despite approval from the minister, amongst others.

He said: “Is the minister looking at us as aliens in the FCT, why has the minister refused to neither see is nor interact with us as was the case under Malam Nasir el-Rufai, why has he denied us all the privileges due to us in the 2013 budget, why are we not being cared for or supported by the government of the FCT, why is the minister not responding to our protest to his office in December 2013, when we were received by the Minister of State on his behalf, we were made to believe a committee would be set up to look into the matter which was not to be, why is the minister not feeling our pulse as useful members of the society, will the minister use his political will to bail us out of this quagmire and who will save our soul in the FCT.”

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