Thursday, November 22, 2018
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AIDS Patients Say Health Workers Violate Their Rights 

By Daniel Gwarbarah

Some HIV/AIDS patients, who are members of the National Association of People Living With HIV, PLWHIV, have flayed health officials for violating their right to secrecy. This was one of the points that came out at a workshop aimed at sharing lessons learned from a project titled "sexual and reproductive health of PLWHIV – a way out (SERH-PE-WO)."

The results of the project, which started in April 2007 and funded by the Japan Trust Fund, JTF, through the International Planned Parenthood Federation, IPPF, was undertaken by the Cameroon National Association for Family Welfare, CAMNAFAW. The findings were presented at Franco Hotel in Yaounde recently. In presenting the study, the Project Coordinator of CAMNAFAW for the Centre Region, Jude Kudi Boja, said one of the numerous complaints registered from patients living with AIDS during the project was the disclosure of their seropositive status to the public. They said such exposure contributes to stigmatization.

The study revealed also that, some health workers refuse AIDS patients access to treatment. A story was told of an HIV mother who lost a baby because nurses refused to attain to her.
Other complaints brought up by the Douala based SUNAIDS  Coordinator, Christian Dongmo, whose association did the findings, included the marking of ‘red cross’ on consultation cards of PLWHIV, refusing to shake hands or share food with patients and the refusal of some dentists to handle their tooth problems. He stated that apart from the poor knowledge of AIDS patient on national and international legal instruments that protect their rights, many victims stopped going for regular consultation and treatment.

The CAMNAFAW Centre Coordinator, Kudi, said the aim of the project was to improve on the recognition of the reproductive health and the rights of AIDS patients. He said CAMNAFAW intended to increase the use of sexual and reproductive health services of at least 3000 PLWHIV at their approved healthcare, treatment and information centres of CNPS Hospital in Yaounde and Nylon Hospital in Douala. He noted that by March 2009, the centres had offered services to more than 1800 victims at the two CAMNAFAW clinics.

He outlined a number of shortcomings which the project had failed to conceive such as the offering of services to young people living with the illness considering that the target age bracket for the project was between 15 and 49 years. He said the distance between homes of some PLWHIV and their information and treatment centres of Nylon Hospital in Douala and CNPS Hospital in Yaounde is relatively long and poses a problem of transportation while data collected by the PLWHIV who are frontline beneficiaries of the project was not adequately done.

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