Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said his administration has removed all financial barriers hindering people living with HIV in the state from accessing medical treatment.
Consequently, the he declared that henceforth, all card fees, consultation fees and charges for basic laboratory investigations stand removed for people living with HIV to guarantee them financial access to HIV prevention and treatment services in Enugu State.
Speaking during the launch of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Surge Response, yesterday, Ugwuanyi disclosed that his administration was determined to expand the HIV Antiretroviral Therapy by enhancing case-finding through provision of more Rapid HIV Test Kits to enable new cases benefit from treatment programme supported by United States’ Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The held at the Government House, Enugu, was attended by key stakeholders in the health sector including the Consul-General, United States Embassy in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, Country Director of the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mahesh Swaminathan and a delegation from Caritas Nigeria led by its Executive Secretary/CEO, Rev. Fr. Dr. Uche Obodoechina.
The governor added that government would remove all barriers associated with finance, stigmatisation and discrimination, which hinder HIV prevention and treatment in the state.
Governor Ugwuanyi said Enugu was one of the first few states in Nigeria to pass a law prohibiting stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with HIV.
The US Consul General, Pierangelo, applauded Governor Ugwuanyi for his effort in the fight against HIV scourge as well as other stakeholders for making the programme a reality.
She stated that they were in Nigeria to address pressing issues to guarantee that the country’s young generations live happily and have a productive life in order to face the challenges of economic development for a better future. Executive Secretary of ENSACA, Dr. Uche Agu, said the strategic programming and intervention would assist in stemming the tide, stressing that the current treatment surge approach is key to narrowing the treatment gap.