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UNAIDS Raises Alarm On Shortage Of HIV Drugs

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The Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, has raised an alarm on the shortage of anti-retro viral drugs in various health facilities in Nigeria.

Bilali Camara, the Country Director of UNAIDS, described the situation as an emergency and said that the agency is in talks with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, NEPHWAN, as well as other major donors over the issue.

Camara told journalists in Abuja on Monday, that the problem was as a result of the difficulties being encountered by Global Fund to manage its resources in the country.

Global Fund is one of the major donor agencies in Nigeria.

Camara told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that “UNAIDS is very much concerned about the anti retro-viral drugs crisis in Nigeria and it is working with Country Coordinating Mechanism to quickly address the problem.”

“It is a new issue that comes up within Nigeria and Global fund relationship, we are working to rebuild their confidence and bring them back to the field.

“We also want them to understand that cutting and depleting their resources hurt Nigerians,” he said.

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The UNAIDS Country Director noted that the actions of the global fund by reducing its support for Nigeria “is negatively affecting HIV/AIDS response in the country,” adding that “We are moving forward to rekindle global fund’s relationship with Nigeria.

Also, the National Coordinator of NEPHWAN, Victor Omosehin, said that the drugs were not available in many centres.

He stated HIV patients in Taraba State now take pediatric drugs due to non-availability of the adult drugs in the state, but the danger was that taking pediatric drugs by adult would lead to resistance.

Omosehin urged the government and other stakeholders to as a matter of urgency do something to remedy the situation.

“Denying people affected by HIV access to drugs is denying them access to life,” he said.

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