By Sola Ogundipe
As part of efforts to widen Nigerians’ access to safe and efficacious ant—retroviral medicines, ARVs, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, recently facilitated donation of free ARV drugs to the SEV-VA Foundation of the Benue State First Lady, Architect Dooshima Yemisi Suswam. The drugs donated by the ACTLAP Children Foundation of Canada by to support the Foundation to ameliorate the plight of people living with HIV in the State.
Benue State has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the country, according to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Health.
NAFDAC Director General, Dr. Paul Orhii who was present during the presentation assured of the quality and safety. “I am personally here to assure you that these medicines have been tested by NAFDAC, we have looked at the expiration date and they fully satisfy NAFDAC requirement.”
Orhii said ACTLAP has indicated interest in partnering with the Agency to explore further opportunities of increasing access of people in Nigeria to life-saving medicines.
Wife of the Benue State governor, Yemisi Suswan, who is also the Chairperson of SEV-VA said the charitable Foundation relies on generosity of well-meaning Nigerians and global charities.
She praised efforts of Nigerians in the Diaspora for coming up with positive initiatives that will impact on the lives of the people back home, urging other Nigerians in the Diaspora to emulate them. “We must do something within our capability to ensure that we rescue our children from death and sickness and that is what the NAFDAC Director General has done.”
She advocated that Nigerians who are HIV-negative should imbibe healthy lifestyles that will ensure they remain HIV negative, while those who are HIV-positive should not see it as the end of the road as they can lead normal lives with the right medications.
The Foundation solicited for donation of HIV test kits urging stakeholders in the health sector to join hands to stop the mother to child HIV transmission and provide medication for infants whose mothers gave birth to them without being aware of their status. ACTLAP representative, Mrs Aghayere said the Foundation was in Benue to show support.
“Having confidence in NAFDAC and also having confidence in SEV-VA Foundation we will consider this the beginning of a partnership, she stated.