Coalition faults Nigerian government on HIV treatment

FILE PHOTO

Coalition petitions government on treatment of PLWHA

In the past few months, it has been a trail of tears and fears amongst people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, as an increasing number were committed to mother earth due to complications of the disease. Though medically unconfirmed, health and treatment enthusiasts say the death toll rose when patients switched to the ‘dubious’ anti-retroviral drug, Tyonex, which was released into the market for the treatment of HIV positive persons.

Tyonex is produced by a local pharmaceutical company, Tyonex Nigeria Limited, in Ikotun Egbe, Lagos; and it is bugged by an integrity deficit in basic physical requirement and shoddy packaging.

The editor in chief of NigeriaHIVinfo.com, Steve Aborishade, on Monday told PREMIUM TIMES, “The Ministry of Health secured funding to procure and supply this drugs, but to cut cost, they opted for a local pharmaceutical company of whom little is known, but whose owners are obviously connected.”

He added that it is most unlikely that this company met the standard practice of obtaining a WHO prequalification to supply the drug, as no Nigerian company was yet to be certified.

Although, Tyonex was withdrawn just last week after much ado, this incidence birthed the voicing of the many concerns hitherto nursed by members of the civil society, treatment activists, as well as people living with the virus.

Nigeria currently has the second largest burden of HIV/AIDS in the world. Since the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, signed a MoU with Nigerian government to enable it increase its commitment to tackling the disease, treatment access has been nothing short of a nightmare to HIV positive persons in Nigeria.

In an observation made by a coalition of activists, Treatment Action Movement, TAM – made up of right activists, media practitioners, HIV positive persons, and global organisations – there is a continual stock out of paediatric ARVs. Thus, adult ARV tablets are broken into pieces and given to children, in the absence of specific children sensitive formulations. The implication of this stares us in the face. Only recently, the United Nations in a report titled, 2013 Progress Report on the Global Plan, showed that there were 60,000 Nigerian children infected with the virus in 2012, a figure higher than that of any country in the world. This also contributes to infant and child mortality, which the country is working hard to reduce.

The coalition, which met in December at an AIDS conference in South Africa, also noted that the laboratory monitoring, which is done for people on ARV to detect viral load – an indication of how they are responding to treatment – has dropped to only once a year in many centres as against the previous practice of every six months. As a result, it is usually late before it is known that someone is failing therapy.

It also observed that liver function test, LFT, is no more being done for patient monitoring but is being done as part of baseline tests. There are no new patients being put on third line drugs while there is zero salvage therapy for those failing third line. It said women living with HIV do not have access to pap smear tests in most Antiretroviral Therapy, ART, sites in Nigeria as part of the treatment package while the provision of family planning services targeting women living with HIV as a vital component of PMTCT interventions are virtually non-existent, save for provision of condoms.

The coalition captured all these in a letter written to the Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, in October 2013 and added that the ART and the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, PMTCT, sites being run by state governments and mission hospitals have no provision for drugs for treatment of opportunity infections such as tuberculosis; while some still charge patients for services that are provided free in other ART sites.

Other conclusions listed in the letter are the inadequate funding for service delivery and increase in patient-provider ratio thereby compounding stress and burnout incidences among healthcare workers in ART sites. Alongside this, it was reported that there was a consistent reduction in training and updating of officials involved in ART management by Implementing Partners, IPs, responsible for provision of ART services in the country.

Not everyone living with HIV requires an ARV, but there are some who need it. Usually there is a follow-up system that tracks HIV persons on ARVs, but as it is now, many treatment sites do not follow up patients anymore due to lack of funding. As a result, there are lots of people who cannot be followed up and counseled to keep the positive attitude about life.

In light of these challenges, they requested for engagement of civil society organisations, treatment advocates and patients’ organisations in the procurement processes with regards to ARVs in the country and specifically the involvement of representatives of TAM and other partners as observers on issues of HIV/AIDS commodities procurement. They also request that the Federal Ministry of Health verifies whether Tyonex Nig Ltd has the World Health Organisation, WHO, pre-qualification which is a global precondition for pharmaceutical companies to trade inessential drugs.

“We humbly request that you use your good offices to ensure that Tyonex brands of ARVs are no more dispensed to our people in the ART sites even though it has been recalled. We request that a Committee representing the various relevant interests be setup, with active consultation and participation of TAM, to investigate our observations about the Tyonex brand of ARVs. We strongly request the cancellation of the contract awarded to Tyonex if a committee set up to probe our observations finds the company liable in any way,” they said.

Their letter and others led to the suspension of usage and distribution of the drug with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, saying it is investigating the drug and its manufacturers.

The coalition also called for a National Treatment Summit to be convened towards addressing the myriad of challenges plaguing the provision of ART in Nigeria. The summit, they propose, should bring various stakeholders including representatives of Government, TAM, Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Implementing Partners, civil society organisations, healthcare workers as well as drug manufacturers.


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  • arewethishopeless

    Ministry of Health officials are the most corrupt, morally-inept and devilish vultures you can ever find in this country. The do not care about Nigerians but their own pockets. They go after money like flies on sh*t and ALWAYS cut corners at the slightest opportunity.

    If any group is eligible to be put in front of a firing squad, the minister and ALL minstry of health officials are first amongst many. They are no different from cultists who use the lives of people for money. Despite continuous support from WHO and organisation round the world to assist us with our public health challenges, these repulsive blood-sucking vultures called Ministry of Health officials go out of their way to defraud and in most cases, impede the activities of these global organisations to rid our country of sickness and disease. Check every public health disaster we have had in this country, you will find ministry of health officials are ALWAYS involved.

    GOD PUNISH ALL MINISTRY OF HEALTH OFFICIALS. MAY THEIR WRETCHED SOULS ROT IN HELL.

  • Sandy Fletcher

    I have been suffering hardship from HIV/AIDS since 7yrs now, and i happen to have 2 kids for my husband, and now we cannot proceed to have another kids all because of my disease and now i have do all what a human like i and my husband can do just to get my disease healed, i have went to several places to seek for help not even one person could ever help, until i melt a comment on the daily news paper that was commented by Desmond about how this powerful traditional doctor help him get cured of the disease (HIV-AIDS) ” my fellow beloved” i firstly taught having a help from a spiritual traditional healer was a wrong idea, but i think of these, will i continue to stress on these disease all day when i have someone to help me save my life?” so i gather all my faiths and put in all interest to contact him through his Email address at drolukuspellhome@gmail.com so after i have mailed him of helping get my disease cured, he respond to me fast as possible that i should not be afraid, that he is a truthful and powerful doctor which i firstly claimed him to be. So after all set has been done, he promise me that i will be healed but on a condition that i provide him some items and obeyed all his oracle said. I did all by accepting his oracles fact and only to see that after some weeks of taking his herbal medicine i notice some changes in my body system and i went for check up the day he ask me to go for check up to confirm if the sickness was still there,to my greatest surprise i could not find any sickness in my body i was first shocked and later arise to be the happiest woman on earth after i have concluded my final test on the hospital by my doctor that i am now HIV- Negative. My papers for check are with me and now i am happy and glad for his miraculous help and power. With these i must tell everyone who might seek for any help, either for HIV cure or much more to contact him now at these following email now, Email: drolukuspellhome@gmail.com” sir thank you so much for your immediate cure of my disease, i must say a big thanks for curing my disease, i owe you in return. Thanks and be blessed sir. Sandy Fletcher

  • Sandy Fletcher

    This is real take it serious, who will believe that a herb can cure herpes, i never believe that this will work i have spend a lot when getting drugs from the hospital to keep me healthy, what i was waiting for is death because i was broke, one day i hard about this great man who is well know of HIV and cancer cure, i decided to email him, unknowingly to me that this will be the end of the herpes in my body, he prepare the herb for me, and give me instruction on how to take it, at the end of the one month, he told me to go to the hospital for a check up, and i went, surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me negative, i thought it was a joke, i went to other hospital was also negative, then i took my friend who was also suffering from herpes to the Dr OLUKU, after the treatment she was also confirm herpes free . He also have the herb to cure cancer. please i want every one with this virus to be free, that is why am dropping his email address, drolukuspellhome@gmail.com do email him he is a great man. the government is also interested in this DR, thank you for saving my life, and I promise I will always testify for your good work.

  • Onoja Osuba

    My Name are Mrs Johnson Ellen. i want to share to the world how Dr onoja helped me cure my Hiv/Aids with his herb i never believe it will work because i was introduce to him by my friend who was cure of Hiv/Aids by Dr ONOJA so i will tell you all who is looking for a cure to their Hiv/Aids, he took research before he could finally get the solution to it. thank God today am a beneficiary to these cure and i went back to the hospital after three (3) months of taking the herb and i was negative, and he also cure any kind of cancer without any surgrey and he heal with natural herb. please i urge you to contact him now through his email addrress: dr.dr.onojaspelltemple@gmail.com +8142559061

  • John Garry

    I don’t really remember much about what transpired that day between me and my doctor. I do remember sitting in her office as she told me I was HIV positive. I remember looking at the painting on the wall. I became instantly numb and everything became a blur. I said to myself “surely, i am finished”.
    I spent so much money buying drugs from hospitals, taking so much fruits as advised by my family doctor, hoping to be cured, but all to no avail. I contacted so many doctors, which they indeed tried their best but were unable to get the virus out of my body system. Fortunately, a friend of mine told me about a herbal doctor (Dr. Ugo), and how he used native herbs to cure him of Diabetes some months back. He said I should talk to him about the virus. Some days later after much hesitations, I decided to reach out to the herbal doctor ( since I’ve got nothing to loose). He prepared some herbs and sent them to me. He guided me on how to use the herbs and I kept in touch with him as the day goes by,telling him the reactions as they appear.
    I followed all procedures as instructed.After for about 21 days, Dr.Ugo asked me to go for a check up which I did, and alas, the result was NEGATIVE. I was rescued the very moment when I taught all hope was lost. I just want to encourage all individuals out there suffering from one ailment or the other,you don’t have to suffer in silence anymore. There is still a huge chance that you can get well again.
    If you are interested in getting cured of whatever ails you, Dr.Ugo is the right person to talk to. He has herbal mixtures for: Herpes, HIV/AIDS, Neumonia, Paralysis, Cancer, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Hemorrhoids among many other diseases… his contact: ugoherbalhome@gmail.com mobile: +2348104990619