NIGERIA HIV/AIDS NEWS
Labour tasks Canada, Nigeria on universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment
March 30, 2010
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the
Acting President Jonathan Goodluck and Canada to ensure that the forth-coming G20 and G8 meetings scheduled for Ontario prioritise universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support.
In a letter to the Canadian government through its embassy in Nigeria, the NLC President, Abdulwahed Omar, urged the G8 to put forward an action plan to achieve its promise of universal access to HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support.
Congress stressed that the G20’s economic recovery strategies recognize the debilitating financial consequences of HIV/AIDS, particularly when combined with other circumstances such as poverty, education, gender, food security, water and climate change.
It added: “Given the close linkages between AIDS, workplace activities, poverty and employment incomes we also call on the summit to recognize Decent Work and ILO Jobs Pact as key elements in programmes to effectively achieve universal access to HIV & AIDS related services.”
NLC pointed out that although more than 5,000 people die each day of AIDS-related illnesses, universal access continues to be under-funded, worsened by the current global economic crisis.
It further reasoned that disruption in supply of essential medicines, deferred treatment and delays in scaling-up of prevention programmes have all made the situation even more precarious. It therefore “called for a commitment to replenish the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria
at a rate of 5 percent/year in each of the next five years.”
Congress further reeled out data to buttress its call for urgent steps to stem the worrying trend.
It said: “Globally, approximately 33.4 million people currently live with HIV. In 2008 alone, 2.7 million people were newly infected with HIV and AIDS-related illnesses claimed the lives of over 2 million people. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most heavily affected region, accounting for 67 percent of all people living with HIV and 72 percent of deaths due to AIDS.”
Omar, in the statement pointed out that trade unions and their civil society allies in Nigeria firmly believe that universal access to HIV and AIDS related services and stronger health systems are critically needed to remove significant barriers to economic progress in Nigeria.
The national umbrella body of Nigerian workers stated that Nigeria’s ability to build a vibrant sustainable economy depends largely on whether or not it is able to halt and reverse the spread of HIV infection and AIDS deaths.
In a similar letter to Acting President through the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the NLC said the invitation extended to the African leaders to participate in the parley must be used to drum support for a definite timeline for achievement of universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support.
The letter read in part: “As African leaders are invited to this year’s summits, we are requesting Your Excellency to also convey to the Canadian Government Nigeria’s commitment to the above issues and principle. We also hope that your Excellency will do what you can to ensure their integration into the outcome of these meetings.”
For More Information: The Guardian Newspapers, Pg 59