Women under the auspices of Society for Women and Children Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (SOWCHAN), have lamented about how COVID-19 pandemic is threatening the successes that have been recorded regarding the push to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.
The women shared their views at the Women pre-conference on CSO Accountability Forum 2021 convened by Peer Review Forum (PRF) in Abuja.
Speaking at the event, Mrs. Lucy Attah Enyia, the National Coordinator, SOWCHAN explained that, “the COVID-19 pandemic has become a disease of great concern to the entire health sector as it threatens to wipe out the gains that had been made over the years in the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and many other health challenges.
“In view of the fact that the world is planning and working to end HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria epidemics on or before 2030, we are highly worried that the COVID-19 pandemic is making the hope to become difficult to achieve in many African countries, including Nigeria.”
She also noted that the preconference is aimed at raising the knowledge and awareness of the public about the threats of COVID-19 to the gains that had been made over the years on HIV and AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria epidemics, adding that, “we will also be sharing useful and valuable information on what we can all do individually and corporately in order to protect the gains.”
Also speaking, Dr. Funke Oki, Acting Director, Policy Planning Coordination, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) urged the women to continue with their efforts which have been recording notable successes over the years.
She said, “we have made progress as women and we will continue to make progress, but we should not relent in.”
She charged the women to be assertive and continue to develop themselves to be able to make positive contributions in the society.
Also, Dr. Oluwole Daini, CEO, Patients Safety and global support initiative (PSGSI) said that PLHIV should be first in line for vaccines because they’re susceptible to contracting the virus.
Dr. Daini who hopes that vaccines would be developed to tackle HIV said, “for years after lifesaving Antiretrovirals were widely available in rich countries, poor countries struggled to get them. For activists focused on access to medicines, the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to look a lot like the bad old days of HIV.”