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‘Layered Approach’ Needed To Address HIV In Nigeria, Help Alleviate Economic Burden Of Disease

The Conversation: Free ARVs are not enough: the hidden costs of treating HIV in Nigeria
Obinna Onwujekwe, professor of health economics and policy and pharmaco-economics/pharmaco-epidemiolgy in the Departments of Health Administration & Management and Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Nigeria’s College of Medicine

“…Since 2006 [the Nigerian government] has provided free antiretroviral treatment at designated facilities in the country … But this has not been enough to eliminate the high and sometimes inequitable economic burden of HIV/AIDS on households. … To address this inequality, interventions need a layered approach to the problems that are impoverishing people living with HIV/AIDS. To tackle the problem, policy interventions need to focus on two areas. These are spreading treatment centers so that they are nearer to people and deploying more health personnel to these centers. … Financial risk-protection mechanisms should also be implemented to significantly remove the expenses that people living with HIV/AIDS and their households have to incur to receive antiretroviral services. … [U]ltimately, universal financial risk protection within the sphere of universal health coverage should be the ultimate goal of HIV/AIDS treatment services. This will protect all households against the occurrence of catastrophic health expenses to access the necessary treatment” (3/15).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.