Has FGN Introduced New Free Treatment for HIV Patients?

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The Claim

According to Premium Times, The Nigerian government released a statement that it will implement new guidelines for HIV prevention, treatment and care to consolidate previous efforts in tackling the scourge. This information is regarded as a new development and strategy under the Buhari administration.  The Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole,  made the statement at the opening of a two-day North-West Zonal Dissemination of 2016 National Guidelines for HIV prevention, Treatment and Care in Kaduna.

In the report, it was stated that the Minister said “From today hence, we will place greater emphasis on differentiated systems of care that are adjustable to the individual needs of the patient,’’. This statement proposed that the Federal Government will be introducing this strategy as a new approach to combating the 3.1% adult HIV prevalence in Nigeria.

The Facts 

Nigeria introduced free health care service for people living with HIV in the 1980s under an economic programme recommended by the International Monetary Funds. The Nigerian Government has received approximately $1.4billion since from Global funds to fight Aids, Malaria and Tuberculosis until it stopped in 2016 following allegation of fraud of over $3.8m.

In 2006, Nigerian Government introduced free ARV policy for persons living with HIV in Nigeria under the Antiretrovial Therapy (ART) program launched in 2002. This is also confirmed by the 2015 Global Response to Aids report.

 

Conclusion

Nigeria had a free treatment policy for persons living with HIV before the Minister of Health’s 2017 announcement, the claim of a new free treatment policy is therefore false.


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