Seek Legal Redress, PLHIV Told

The State Program Officer of NEPWHAN, CLM/GHR, Chief Whyte Ikocha, has declared that people living with HIV/AIDS, key population and other vulnerable community member that is denied access to prompt medical attention or subjected to any form of discrimination and stigma by anyone should not hesitate to seek legal redress.

Chief Ikocha made the call during fourth quarterly technical meeting organized by Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN)/Community Led Monitoring (CLM) in Umuahia with relevant partners, Muslim and Christian leaders, and other stakeholders in the state.

Mr Michael Ogbonnaya, State Coordinator Of NEPWHAN

Chief Ikocha harped on the great need on why Abia State Government should go all out to domesticate Anti Stigma and Discrimination Law as well as enact Patient Bill of Rights in the state.

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He revealed having such law in place would go a long way to eliminate every manner of discrimination and stigma meted out to people living with HIV/AIDS, key population, etc, by some healthcare providers as well as community members in the area of denying PLHIV the right to work.

The State Program Officer said that conscious effort be made to “strengthen mechanism that would improve access to justice for perpetrators of Gender and Human rights violations/abuses”

Participants during the meeting

Earlier in his remarks, the State Coordinate of NEPWHAN, Mr Michael Ogbonnaya, charged relevant partners and key stakeholders to utilize every opportunity at their disposable, in private and public space, to enlighten and sensitize the public never to discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS in their midst, stressing that individual and institution that violate PLHIV rights, would be compelled to face the bitter wrath of the law.

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In their goodwill messages, the representative of South East Zonal Coordinator of National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, NACA, Mmuka Janet, representative of Director General of Abia State Agency for Control of HIV/AIDS, SACA, Munachim Aguomba, representative of CARITAS, Ikenna Nwakanma, representative of Tuberculosis Control in the state, Dr Ume Chioma, media representative, Comrade John Emejor, representative of NDLEA Mr Z. Nwaogba, among others reiterated that empirical and new strategy be put in place to reduce the incidents of discrimination against anyone in the state.

They insisted that things must be done differently, adding that relevant laws, regulations and policies pertaining gender based violence and Gender and Human rights issues be made available in the state forthwith.

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Signed,Comrade John Emejor