CSOs

CSOs decry efforts to sabotage FG’s free antiretroviral program

….commends NACA’s plan to establish HIV Trust Fund

By Gabriel Ewepu, Abuja

Two Civil Society Organisations, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and Transparency International Nigeria, Thursday, decried contractors allegedly sabotaging the Federal Government’s effort on the sustenance of free antiretroviral drugs for 3.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

This was contained in a statement signed by Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, and made available to Vanguard, where they also alleged that the contractors were aided to defraud the government by insiders at the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, who prevent the Agency from buying HIV drugs directly from original manufacturers.

According to CISLAC/TI Nigerian contractors currently sell the anti-retroviral drugs at $13 per patient as against $7 given by the manufacturers.

The statement reads in part, “While international treaties and governments across the world recognize adequate, accessible, and affordable health care as a fundamental human right, medicine financing in Nigeria is generally out-of-pocket.

“The continued rise in price has made many essential and prescription medications unaffordable, and therefore inaccessible, by quite a large number of Nigerians, who live below the poverty line. This without a doubt comes with grave consequences of morbidity and mortality to consumers of health care products in Nigeria.

“The non-affordability triggered by high production and supply costs encourages the sale of fake and substandard drugs in the country, while consumers who are compelled to seek cheaper drug alternatives ceaselessly fall prey to fake and substandard drugs with damage to their health.

“As the Nigerian government struggles to sustain the provision of free antiretroviral drugs as part of HIV programmes at health facilities in the country for an estimated 3.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, this effort is mostly sabotaged by inflated prices quoted by supplying contractors, whose activities

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