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HIV/AIDS Claiming More Lives in Africa 

By Nformi Sonde Kinsai

HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern and cause of death in Africa. Although Africa is inhabited by just over 14.7% of the world’s population, it is estimated to have more than 88% of people living with HIV and 92% of all AIDS deaths in 2007.

 These range from a plateau and eventual decline in deaths beginning around 2012 to a catastrophic continual growth in the death rate with potentially 90 million cases of infection.

Without the kind of health care and medicines that are available in developed countries, large numbers of people in Africa will develop full-blown AIDS. They will not only be unable to work, but will also require significant medical care. This will likely cause a collapse of economies and societies.

The behaviour of Africans causes more people to be affected, thereby causing more deaths. Cameroon and its neighbour Nigeria are greatly affected because the drugs are not just expensive but not available.

It is claimed antiretroviral drugs are available for patients whereas most of them are fake. Dr Chima Chikwendu, a medical researcher from Nigeria who was in Cameroon for a seminar said it was discovered that in Cameroon and Nigeria, there are unscrupulous individuals who exploit the situation by producing fake drugs in the name of antiretroviral drugs.

The Post also gathered that the rich don’t take drugs around Cameroon and Nigeria because it has been discovered they are fake. They rather spend much sums of money for their treatment abroad. The medic told The Post that in 2009, a research to almost all pharmacies in Nigeria indicated that their drugs were fake.

According to him, Doctors had discovered that patients didn’t respond to treatment after taken drugs obtained from hospital pharmacies. Dr Chima said an investigation was carried out and it was discovered some rich business men had bribed the minister of health, so they could be the sole suppliers of antiretroviral drugs to all pharmacies and hospitals.

Dr Chima said when the businessmen gained the contract; they colluded with some local pharmaceutical companies who produced fake drugs which were eventually distributed all over Nigeria. Though everything is being done to avert the situation, many patients still fall prey to these fake drugs sellers.

While companies and individuals keep on taking the lives of HIV patients in Africa, some of the victims make life unbearable for others. Dr Chima narrated a story which happened between an HIV patient and two girls. He said a woman who accused one Calvin Osoh of allegedly infecting them with the dreaded HIV/AIDS virus died after committing an abortion.

Doris Onyeabor and Ngozi Okafor, had on Mach 25, 2005, addressed a letter to the judicial police in Enugu, accusing Calvin of infecting them with the HIV/AIDS virus. In their letter, they narrated the instances Calvin had sexual intercourse with them. The ladies called on the police to open investigations and punish the said man if found guilty.

Ngozi, it is reported died after trying to terminate a pregnancy because she had been told by medics that the baby she was carrying might also be infected with HIV/AIDS if she didn’t take her drugs regularly. At this juncture, it is said Ngozi stopped taking her medications in agitation to police neglect for not bringing to book the person who infected her.

She had reportedly stormed the police station several times to let her plight heard. It was reported some members of Ngozi’s family were questioned as to who might have encouraged her to carry out the rude abortion.

At Ngozi’s family house, a member of her family said they want to be done with her burial before following up the case against police neglect of a case. They said before she died, she left behind in a note, the name and photograph of the person who transmitted the virus to her. Ngozi also revealed that this same man had a love affair with Doris Onyeabor whom she (Ngozi) had informed her. Many other Africans find themselves in this same Situation.

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