The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) said it has, in collaboration with the organised private sector, distributed over 1000 economic relief packages to indigent HIV patients during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Dr Monsurat Adeleke, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LSACA, on Saturday said the state government in partnership with the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA) provided the succor.
Adeleke said that the agency had identified indigent People Living With Human Immunodeficiency Virus (PLHIV) among the 78,052 clients in the state and had started providing them palliatives.
According to her, since the commencement of the lockdown, the agency and its partners have brainstormed on how the lockdown will not have negative effects on the PLHIV, hence the palliatives and drugs stockpiling.
“With the advent of COVID-19, the Lagos State HIV /AIDS consortium under the coordination of LSACA, aligned with the commendable and proactive response of Lagos State Government to the COVID-19 pandemic in Lagos State.
“We have some indigent clients that are living with HIV, so we decided to help the vulnerable ones with stimulus packages.
“We started the resource mobilisation strategy and we reached out to all the partners, starting with the NIBUCAA which promised relief packages for clients.
“We have been able to give over 1000 indigent patients packages in the first instance intervention. We also have stimulus packages from the State Ministry of Agriculture for the HIV patients,” Adeleke said.
According to her, the agency will use its network, as the coordinator of all the support groups for AIDS in Lagos State, to help about 4500 indigent patients identified in the state.
The LSACA boss, who noted that the agency targeted no fewer than 60 support groups to get support for the indigent PLHIV, said that more palliatives were still on the way from the government and partners.
She said that conversations had been opened with all the partners to provide succor for PLHIV, adding that the government was also aware of these clients.
“We are going to continue and settle all the indigent patients. What we have distributed were through the efforts of NIBUCAA and the Ministry of Agriculture,” Adeleke said.
According to her, the agency does not only want to ensure that the HIV patients have stimulus packages to cushion effects of the lockdown, but also wants to ensure enough drugs supply for the continuity of HIV services.
The CEO said: “We have been working hard to ensure that this COVID-19 pandemic does not further have negative effect on the people living with HIV.
“We started by ensuring that all the 78, 028 clients living with HIV in Lagos State have adequate drug supply.
“So, we stocked them with drugs using the Ministry of Health through the directorate of pharmaceutical services.
“We pushed out and stocked all the 185 community pharmacies in Lagos State to ensure that they (PLHIV) have the Anti-Retroviral Drugs. The lockdown won’t have an adverse effect on the PLHIV.”
According to her, the community pharmacies have ARVs for pickup by HIV positive clients in their neighborhood across the state during the lockdown.
He said that clients of first-line drugs and second-line drugs were all given between two to six months of drug supply so that the lockdown would not have an adverse effect on PLHIV.
Adeleke said that in order to strengthen the State HIV and AIDS response, Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated the State’s HIV consortium in November 2019 with NIBUCAA as a member to better help the PLHIV.
According to her, each relief package contains 25kg bag of Garri, 10kg bag of rice, 8kg of beans, one carton of noodles, 15 sachets of tomato paste, toothpaste, detergents, toiletries, beverage among others.
LSACA was set up to coordinate the State HIV and AIDs response, with the view to reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS, and mitigate its impact on both the infected and affected.