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In Abuja: Protesting HIV patients disrupt ‘HIV Prevention Conference’

Activists protest HIV stigmatization in Nigeria.

The card-carrying members of the group were said to have interrupted the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osage Ehanire, at the conference.

The Society for Women and Children Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (SOWCHAN), on Tuesday, November 29, protested in Abuja, demanding better  HIV funding.

The card-carrying members of the Society even interrupted the Minister of State for Health, Dr Osage Ehanire, at the conference, NAN reports.

The leader of the group, Mrs Enya Attah, said she had lived with the virus for two decades.

She said: "I now have three children and all of them negative," adding that the protest is a wake-up call to government to take full responsibility of HIV funding.

"There should be political will by both federal and state governments to truthfully implement the many strategic plans and research recommendations developed by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA)."

She added that Nigeria’s heavy dependence on external donors (about 75 per cent) for assistance to HIV positive persons is drastically dwindling and urged the Federal Government to bridge the gap.

She called on President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint one of the persons living with HIV as Special Adviser to the President on HIV/AIDS "so that the person will provide the President with true situation on HIV response."

The minister, who waited for the group to make its points for about 10 minutes while standing at the podium, said he has noted the demands.

He explained that the government is a caring government, but faced with many competing needs, and that resources has not been what it used to be.

"Both ministers of health are doctors and are mindful of the demands of people living with the virus," he said.

Ehanire, who declared the conference open, highlighted the efforts made so far toward reducing the spread of the scourge in Nigeria.

He noted that the conference is to further brainstorm on ways to tackle the spread of the virus, and treatment options for persons living with it.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference was organised by NACA, local and international organisations working on HIV/AIDS.

Nigeria is among the countries yet to meet the Abuja Declaration target of 15 per cent national budget commitment to health.

The 2016 approved budget for health is 4.13 per cent and out of the amount allocated to health, 88.54 per cent is for recurrent expenditure, while 11.46 per cent is for capital projects. 

This post was syndicated from pulse.ng - Nigeria's entertainment & lifestyle platform online. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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