Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Strike - 'People Living With HIV/Aids Dying'

Kaduna — People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Kaduna State are having difficulties accessing drugs and counselling in government hospitals due to the strike embarked upon by health workers in the state about 12 days ago, Daily Trust gathered.

Kaduna State chapter of Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) on March 1, 2014, embarked on an indefinite strike to demand implementation of 30 per cent balance of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) which was approved by the government in 2011.

The Executive Director of Destiny Resource Centre in Kaduna, a non-governmental organisation working on health related issues, Isah Danssallah, told Daily Trust in an interview that people living with HIV/AIDS cannot access care because of the situation.

"Presently, I have a client whom we filled a referral form for and he has been waiting for over four days now to see whether the strike will be called off so that he can go to the hospital. As I am talking to you, that man is almost dying. We have so many of these people who are on anti-retroviral therapy and life has been very difficult for them due to the strike. Already, we have received report of about five people who died due to lack of access to treatment," he said.

He added: "We have what is called follow-up counselling because when someone is newly introduced to the drugs, he will experience some resistance which needs to be continuously managed by doctors. Now that the health workers are not there to manage such resistance/ complications, fear of death and issue of self denial sets in. So even if the strike is not a major factor to the death of the people, it is a contributing factor. Apart from the Centre for Integrated Health Programme (CIHP) which I know has been working to ensure that its clients get their drugs under a special arrangement, what about others who are not under CIHP care."

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