AIDS Nigeria has sufficient Anti retro-viral drugs – NACA

The agency also assured that it is working to enhance distribution of the drugs in the country.

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Nandi Makhele, poses for a portrait while wearing a T-shirt indicating that she is HIV-positive, in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township, file. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly play Nandi Makhele, poses for a portrait while wearing a T-shirt indicating that she is HIV-positive, in Cape Town's Khayelitsha township, file. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
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The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) says there is no shortage of anti-retro viral drugs in Nigeria.

The agency also assured that it is working to enhance distribution of the drugs in the country.

Dr Emmanuel Alhassan, Director Partnership, NACA, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.

NAN recalls that the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) had said there was growing shortage of anti retro-viral drugs in Nigeria, and described the situation as an emergency.

Earlier, Mr Victor Omosehin, the National Coordinator, NEPHWAN, said that the drugs were not available in many centres.

Omosehin said that people living with HIV in Taraba now take paediatric drugs due to non-availability of the adult drugs in the state.

But reacting to the report, Alhassan said the challenge that occurred recently in Taraba was as a result of transporting the drugs from the central medical stores to the sites in some states.

He added that the Federal Government in collaboration with Abia and Taraba states was able to take full responsibilities of HIV/AIDS response in the affected two states.

According to him, the agency had discussed with the contractors handling the movements of the drugs from the central stores to various sites in Abia and Taraba.

He added that the contractors agreed that they would render the service if given part of the money for the distribution.

“But one of the distributing agents was adamant, and said that his remuneration has to be paid before he could deliver the drugs in Taraba.

“This to some extent affected the timeliness of delivering the drugs to Taraba, while there was no complain from Abia.

“The distribution agent operated fully in Abia and supplied the commodities on time in Abia,’’ he said.

According to Alhassan, NACA has resolved the issue of Taraba, and have scheduled a meeting with Civil Society Networks working to boost the HIV/AIDS response in Taraba

“At the meeting, NACA will call on facilities to confirm if the drugs have been delivered in Taraba state,’’ he said.

Alhassan said NACA’s priority is to make sure that people living with HIV/AIDS receive the services they need.

He said as a government we are reviewing our existing challenges, and are diligently on the local production of ARV and other HIV commodities in Nigeria

He added that the agency was collaborating with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency to integrate HIV/AIDS services under the proposed `provider initiative testing programme’.

Alhassan said the initiative was to push for the elimination of HIV/AIDS as a public health challenge by 2030.