‘Integrate HIV/AIDS treatment into health insurance scheme’

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The Institute of Human Virology in Nigeria (IHVN) has called for the integration of the treatment of the HIV/AIDS into the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The IHVN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Patrick Dakum made the call, Thursday, in Abuja on the occasion of the International World AIDS Day, Friday.

The theme of this year’s commemoration is ‘’The Right to Health”.

He said the challenges of HIV/AIDS patients demanded that insurance institutions be actively involved in their treatment to increase the number of benefiting persons.

Dakum said that the institution’s experience with infected persons made it mandatory for it to canvass for a wider platform for the treatment of HIV/AIDS victims in the country.

He said adopting the HIV/AIDS treatment into the NHIS would boost the sustainability of the treatment regime for such cases in Nigeria.

“In Ngeria today on HIV issue, over 90 per cent of HIV/AIDS patients get their suppor from donors principally The Global Fund and others. Now if you look at that the question you ask is that of the one million people on treatment today, 150,000 are taken care of by the Nigerian government.

“This means that if the donor agencies, for any reason, decides to stop the treatment, what do we do with this one million people that are on their treatment, a life-long treatment. And you know once you are diagnosed with HIV/AIDS you don’t stop treatment because once you stop, the virus will bounce back in your body and you begin to get symptoms of the ailment.

‘’So for us the issue has to do with bridging the funding from the donor agencies. This is why we are always calling for the insurance to be involved in funding the treatment. If you have an insurance policy for your health, you go to the clinic you are assigned to for treatment. So if I test positive for HIV today why should they not pay for the treatment as they did for other ailments.

“Therefore, there is no reason we should not incorporate HIV/AIDS treatment into the NHIS. It will take care of treatment for such infections.’’

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