HIV Patients go on rampage at Abuja HIV Prevention Conference
Society for Women and Children Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, SOWCHAN,on Tuesday, went on rampage at the first National Conference on HIV Prevention in Nigeria.
The conference which was organized by National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, and other local and international organizations working on HIV/AIDS.
The conference, among others, seeks to proffer further ways to tackling the disease by ensuring decrease in new infections and treatment of persons positive to the virus.
The card-carrying group, who trooped out in scores ran towards a podium where Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, was billed to deliver a keynote address and declare the conference open,and disrupted the Minister’s keynote address.
Leader of the group, Enya Lucy Attah, who has lived with the disease for two decades and has three of her children negative to the disease said the protest was “a wake-up call on government to take full ownership of HIV funding. Nigeria is among countries that have not yet met the Abuja declaration target of 15 percent of National budget commitment to health. 2016 approved budget for health is 4.13 percent.
Out of the amount allocated to health, 88.54 percent is allocated to current expenditure, while only 11.46 percent is allocated to capital project.
“There should be political will by both federal and state governments to truthfully implement the many strategic plans and research recommendation developed by NACA. Nigeria’s heavy dependence on external donor of 75 percent, while domestic financing is 25 percent; there is dwindling global funding for HIV in developing countries; Nigeria government must bridge this funding gap.”
She went further by calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint one of the people living with HIV to an office to be created by the government. She suggested that the office should be known as Office of Special Adviser to the President on HIV/AIDS. “That is the person who will be providing the president with true situation on HIV response,” she stated.
Meanwhile the Minister of state in his remarks,appealed to the patients that the Federal Government would give greater attention to the concerns they raised,as he noted that the dwindling oil revenue resources has affected government’s budgetary provisions within the last two years.
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