Groups of People Living with HIV (PLWHIV) have called on the Federal Government to eradicate user fees in health facilities to enable them access services.
Speaking during the 35th international candlelight memorial 2018 with the theme’ “Reflecting on our past and preparing for the future” yesterday in Abuja, the national coordinator Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS (NEPHWAN), Victor Omoshehin said, “our major challenge is user fees which is like a second epidemic, this fees is not something that is controlled by the government but we see different health facilities designing their own programme of user fees and imposing it on the patients.”
He said user fees is a monster that is threatening access to services and care while adding that they don’t want people to pay anything to access care when it comes to HIVAIDS. “Testing people to know their status should be free, we have been doing that for free for a long time and it should continue to be so.”
Omoshehin also said that they understand that procuring the kits involves lot of money but urged the government of Nigeria to step up in their commitment and their budgetary allocation to the HIVAIDS response, “that is when we can take intervention and then take charge.”
He said the candlelight is in remembrance of those that have died, “our brothers, sisters, loved one and children who never had access to pediatric services due to information gap, ignorant and lack of access to services.”
UNAIDS Country Director, Dr Bilali Camara represented by Dr Richard Amenyah said they want to see a world where no one die from AIDS, a world without people living with HIV, and a world where nobody is discriminated upon as a result of their status. “Its important know that that for us to get to the three zero we must keep activism on.”
He said we must understand the take home message that the people of the community of PLWHIVAIDS are saying user fees is a barrier in accessing services and it should therefore be eradicated.
He added that the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé is working hard in making sure that user fees should not be a barrier to PLWHIV adding that in the World Health Assembly coming up next week, he is meeting with Ministers of health across nations and putting on the table that there is no point having drugs in our facilities that people cannot access because they cannot pay the user fees.
“We cannot achieve our 9090 target if user fees continue to be a barrier,” he said.
By: Olayemi John-Mensah
Daily Trust News
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