The Benue State government was recently accused of distributing expired anti-retrovirals.
About 500 persons living with HIV and AIDS in Benue held a protest over the non release of anti-retroviral drugs to hospitals in the state in the past two months.
The aggrieved patients besieged the premises of the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Makurdi, on Monday to press for government intervention.
The spokeswoman of the group, Kasevhemba Aondoakaa, expressed shock that the government decided to abandon them.
Ms. Aondoakaa, a teacher, said that the apparent insensitive position of the government toward their plight had left them with no option than to embark on the protest.
“For two good months, no single drug has been given to us. Our regular test has not been carried out either.
“They keep on telling us that there are no drugs to give us. We are tired of hearing all these stories; we want the president and the minister to do something about this issue.
“We are being maltreated, according to them, U.S. Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief in Africa (PEPFAR) has withdrawn its sponsorship for the programme.”
The Head of Clinical Services, Petelu Inunduh, however, said the issue was beyond the hospital management.
Mr. Inunduh explained that the programme was initially handled by the Aid Prevention Initiative Nigeria, APIN.
He said that as a result of the regionalisation exercise in 2013, the centre was handed over to Centre for Integrated Health Programme, CIHP, by Centre for Diseases Control, CDC.
“From the beginning of the programme, our centre was under APIN but was later handed over to CIHP in 2013 as a result of the regionalisation exercise.
“We are only hosting the programme here, though 110 of our members of staff are currently working for the programme, while 55 members of staff were employed by PEPFAR.
“We have over 15,000 patients on ART list and over 27,000 who are also collecting their drugs at our centre.
“When we were handed over to CIHP in 2013, they declined to take over on the grounds that they lacked capacity to run the centre.
“Subsequently, we were again handed over to the Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria, IHVN, but the marriage has failed to yield positive result.
“Since their takeover, there has been erratic supply of drugs, laboratory reagents, and lack of funds to manage the laboratories,” he said.
He disclosed that the management had already held a series of meeting with stakeholders with the aim of addressing the problem.
Just recently, people living with HIV/AIDS alleged that the Benue State government distributed expired anti-retroviral drugs; the government denied it.
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