To address the challenge of access to HIV medications by People Living with HIV (PLHIV) during the COVID-19 lockdown, and inter-state travel ban, Institute of Human Virology (IHVN) and other Implementing Partners (IPs) have partnered for smooth drug refills for clients stuck in states outside their hospital location.
The partnership, which has benefitted more than 100 PLHIV, was initiated in April and involved pharmacists working across 23 states. They responded to calls from clients, and linked them to nearby facilities already informed about the drug refill needed.
According to IHVN Pharmacy Lead, Rivers Surge Project, Mr. Lawrence Wakdet, the pharmacists utilized a WhatsApp platform for prompt information dissemination. “Documentation was done and shared with the respective Implementing Partners concerned, and with Funders; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).”
Mr. Wakdet also noted that representatives from Centre for Integrated Health Programs (CIHP), Family Health International FHI/SIDHAS, Howard University Global Initiative Nigeria HUGIN/SIDHAS, Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative (AHNI), AIDS Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN), and Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria through Pro-Health International, participated in the collaborative activity.
One of the beneficiaries Mrs. Grace Johnson (not her real name), said that though she was stuck in Lagos and anxious about drug pick-up, she was able to get a refill. ‘I really don’t like missing my medications so I was really confused about how to travel and get my refill. Luckily, when I complained to one of the ART Clinic Staff, he made some phone contacts and I received a call from one of the Pharmacists here in Lagos. I was advised to go to a government hospital close to me where I got my drugs refill for three months. There was no waste of time. I am so happy, ’ she said.