By Evelyn Okakwu
The Network of People living with HIV/AIDs in Nigeria (NEPHWAN) have disclosed that 760 000 people live positively with HIV/AIDs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Speaking during a press briefing in Abuja, to address the many challenges of the group, the coordinator of the Network in the FCT, Mr. John Okene said although Nigeria ranks second in the global statistics of highest number of people with the HIV/AIDS, the country may top the world’s list if nothing of done to alleviate the problems of the people.
“More positive people have continued to die due to lack of care and support, even though a provision was made for such in the FCT 2013 HIV response budget.
“In Wuse hospital, the patients have been displaced. They lack access to the usual CD4 tests that they are supposed to have constantly. With the current pain this people are made to undertake, their will evidently be a slow output of HIV/AIDS management which can result in an increased spread of the disease”, he stated.
The deputy coordinator of the Network, Onah Emanuel said he went for his ARV drug at the National Hospital but was unfortunately referred to a pharmacist.
He added: “When we are told that a drug is to be made freely available to us, the expectation is that the drugs are to be constantly at our disposal. But I went to the National Hospital for my anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs but was told to check back in one month or go to a nearby pharmacy. I resorted to borrowing from a friend”.
They said they have been seeking the audience of the FCT minister on the issue for some time now, but that the minister had persistently denied granting them audience.
Okene noted that Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN) was bluntly excluded from the World Bank project in 2013, while a set of unknown group was made to represent NEPHWAN against its wish.
He added that it took a collective effort of all HIV support groups to launch a complaint to the World Bank headquarters before the Bank allocated its funds and saved NEPHWAN from the intended sabotage.
They added that the minister’s continued the refusal to attend to them has prolonged their plights, which include the inability of stakeholders to execute many projects concerning them, even after funds for the projects have been made available.