“We will Hold You Responsible for Deaths”
People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) in the country have threatened to hold both Ministers of Health Professor Isaac Adewole and Labour, Dr Chris Ngige responsible for deaths of members due to persistent strike of all health workers.
In an open letter to both ministers, thirteen various groups of PLWHAs lament the plights of members who they said are at the risk of dying due to continued shut down of hospital facilities and inability to access routine refill of drugs.
According to the letter signed by coalition of twelve HIV/AIDS groups the attention of the ministers were drawn to the negative impact the on ongoing strike by the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) is having on People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) who are accessing care and treatment across government facilities nationwide.
The groups pointed out “Currently, the facilities have been shut down completely by the striking workers necessitating our members who have clinic appointment for their life saving drugs to miss their appointment”.
They also pointed out that Technical Officers who work for Implementing Partners are equally unable to access the facilities to retrieve vital medical information of clients to enable them provide alternative treatment facilities where
drugs can be accessed by those in need of it” the coalition lamented.
The PLWHAs are worried that whereas 95% of HIV/AIDS treatment in Nigeria is
supported by donors, and as such, shutting the facilities amount to sabotage of their investment in the AIDS
response in particular and Nigeria in general.
They noted also that the country is at a critical stage of the HIV/AIDS National Response in which
the National AIDS Indicator Survey (NAIIS) is about to commence.
” This strike is a potential threat to the survey of which huge resources has been invested and committed to it. This survey happens to be the largest survey ever to be conducted in the world and it is happening in Nigeria. We
therefore cannot afford to fail the international community” the group warned.
The group pleaded with the two ministers to immediately resolve all the issues in contention with the health workers union amicably to enable the striking workers return to duty in providing continuum of care to people
living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
“We cannot afford to record any AIDS related death or continued blockage of AIDS response
implementing partners to supported facilities where treatment is provided to those in severe need
of it as this will lead to a reversal of the gains attained in fighting HIV/AIDS, possible withdrawal
of funding by the international donors as well as making us to miss the goal of ending AIDS in
“We will hold you responsible if any AIDS related death occurs as a result of this strike!
” We will hold you responsible if we cannot access the health facilities to conduct the National
AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS)!!
” We will hold you responsible if international donors withdraw their funding as a result of
their inability to access the treatment supported facilities” the coalition warned.
The groups include, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Nigeria Diversity Network (NDN), Network of Religious Leaders Against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NINERELA) and Civil Society Platform on Health.
Others are Treatment Action Movement (TAM) Initiative, Nigerian Network of Youths Against HIV/AIDS (NYNETHA), Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (ASHWAN), New HIV/AIDS Microbicide Advocacy Group (NHVMAS), Media Arts and Entertainment Network, Association of Positive Youth in Nigeria (APYIN), Society for Women and AIDS in Africa, Nigerian (SWAAN) and Association of Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (ACSAN)