PLWHA lament as expired HIV/AIDS drugs surface in Benue

Posted: February 8, 2014 in News
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Dr. Orduen Abunku  Benue Commissioner for Health

Dr. Orduen Abunku
Benue Commissioner for Health

Some persons living with HIV/AIDS in Benue State have alleged that they were given expired anti-retroviral, ARV drugs at some public hospitals in Makurdi, the state capital.

Some of those who were given the expired ARVs told Sunday Pilot that they were given three months package last November which included doses that expired December last year.

This paper further gathered that the three months dose was to be taken from last December to February this year while they were advised to start taking the dose that was to expire in December.

Speaking on the development, Dooshima Apir, an HIV/AIDS carrier at General Hospital North Bank, Makurdi, said she never knew she was taking the dose in the wrong order due to her inability to read until her son told her.

Another patient, Dominic Ameh from Bishop Murray Hospital located at the High Level area of Makurdi confirmed that one of the doses was to expire in December but he decided to follow the instruction and took the dose that was to expire in December.

When contacted, President of People Living with HIV/AIDS, PLWHA, Steven Yongo said he was not aware of such development and advised those affected to report the matter to the network.

However, the state commissioner for health, Dr Orduen Abunku confirmed that in October and November last year, HIV patients were given three months supply of medication at a time, adding that one of the drugs was supposed to expire in December and they were advised to take that one before the others to avoid taking expired medication.

Dr Abunku further stated that there might have been a misunderstanding which made the patients not to follow the instruction properly, arguing that they were not deliberately given expired drugs.

The commissioner of health also allayed fears of an attending health hazard on the part of those who took the expired drugs even as he advised those who have not taken them to return them for exchange.

He explained that the hospitals are managed by the hospital management board and that there is a system responsible for checking expired drugs in the hospitals, adding that HIV/AIDS management was coordinated through few partners in the state who are always to ensure there are no expired drugs.

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