Chukwumuanya Igboekwu – Nigeria

Medical Activist Fighting HIV/AIDS – standing up for human rights

Linked with The Right to Health and Health Workforce Planning.

As a doctor working in Nigeria’s remote Niger province, Chukwumuanya Igboekwu confronted the reality of AIDS in rural Africa: In 2003 an estimated 99.5% of the estimated 22,000 people with HIV/AIDS could not afford anti-retroviral medications. He began a local campaign to secure a significant increase in health funds in the provincial budget. The four-hour drive from Igboekwu’s home in rural Sahon-rami to the state capital became a regular one. After many visits, he met with the Deputy Governor, the Commissioner of Health, key parliamentarians and other officials. Igboekwu and his coalition made a strong case for the government to take responsibility for providing clinical care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2005, the government announced it would provide life-saving antiretroviral drugs to 1,000 people. The grave situation in 2003 has been reversed as majority of PLWHAs in Niger province now have access to antiretroviral medicines … // … Chukwumuanya is an Oxfam International Youth Partnerships action member. Oxfam International Youth Partnerships is a global network of young people working with their communities to create positive, equitable and sustainable change. (full text).

His bio.

He writes: … my name is Chukwumuanya Igboekwu, I male and 25. I am a young medical doctor from Nigeria. I have just finnished my one year youth service corps serviceand cuurrently working in a rural hospital in kontagora, Niger state ,north central region of Nigeria. I am currently a member of the Oxfam International Youth Parliament,OIYP, based in Sydney Australia. I am currently involved in a project aimed at reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS among rural youth in Niger state. I am also the program manager of a grassroot youth serving organisation,the Young Corps for Social Responsibility(YCSR), based in Niger state Nigeria … (full text, May 21, 2005).

… As a medical doctor volunteering in the rural community, he has also been involved in establishing an HIV/AIDS treatment centre within the community where he’s working. Chukwumuanya is also strategically campaigning and lobbying the Niger State Government, with the aim of increasing the budgetary allocation to health and HIV/AIDS programming activities, especially with regards to the procurement of essential medicines and technologies for people living with HIV/AIDS in his community. Less than 5% of those requiring ARV’s and other medicines actually have access to them … (full text).

He is also member of Taking It Global.

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Chukwumuanya Igboekwu – Nigeria

Law and Health Initiative Sponsors Health and Human Rights Activists from Nigeria and Russia, December 1, 2006.

Preventing Childhood Malaria Deaths in Mashegu: This project provides families with malaria prevention education, life-saving medicines and insecticide treated bednets to protect 20,000 children from malaria related deaths in rural Mashegu … (full text):

  • 11-09-2008 – Field update from Tunga-magaji, Maisara and Nassarawa;
  • 05-27-2008 – Updates from the field;
  • 03-31-2008 – Malaria Prevention Project Outreach at Faje Community in rural Mashegu.
  • More Information About this Project: Project Needs and Beneficiaries In this region, malaria accounts for 30% of deaths for children under 5 (UNICEF/FGN 2004). PSJ estimates that about 70% of outpatient visits for children under 5 and 50% of hospital admissions are due to malaria in areas where we work. This project seeks to significantly reduce the high death rate resulting from malaria among children in rural Mashegu through community-wide malaria prevention education and distribution of ITNs to families with children under 5 … (full text).

Comment by Novartis, November 2006.

… Chukwumuanya hopes to work with various stakeholders within his region at the conclusion of the training to bring affordable, effective and safe generic versions of ARV medicines into the Niger state. To do this he hopes to work with the Federal Ministry of Commerce, the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA), Care People International, the Niger State Chamber of Commerce, Mines and Agriculture and the Nigerian Parliamentary Committee on HIV/AIDS … (full text 10 pdf-pages).

… The VCHI is an integrated rural community based health intervention project aimed at making high quality health care delivery services available and accessible to the rural people at affordable costs. The project uniquely focuses on the pivotal role of grass-root community based health care delivery strategy in bringing affordable health care services nearer to the people. Our service delivery approach is an integrated model, which combines all aspects of primary health care including both curative and preventive aspects, which are administered as a combined package. We also have a simple team made up of only 3 persons ? The Primary Care Physician, a Community Health Extension Worker CHEW and a junior community Health Worker who serves as Nursing Aid … (full text).

… Dr. Igboekwu also pointed to another solution: ignore intellectual property laws. “Brazil offers universal antiretroviral therapy for all citizens because they have simply refused to obey patent laws–they argue that this is a national security issue,” he pointed out, while noting the political reality that most developing countries cannot be so bold. “We have about 600,000 people who urgently need ARV medications in Nigeria, but the government is still struggling to offer 250,000 people with treatment because of the simple fact that some of the ARVs are too expensive” … (full text).

As a medical doctor working in the remote Niger province of Nigeria, Chukwumuanya Igboekwu felt frustrated by the staggering number of people living with HIV and AIDS in his community who simply could not afford any form of effective anti-retroviral medication. He estimated that 99.5 per cent of the 22,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in the region could not afford the expensive drugs they needed. In an attempt to turn this situation around, Chukwumuanya began a local campaign to secure a significant increase in the amount of money dedicated to health in the provincial budget. The objective was to increase access to essential AIDS medications. He joined with another local organisation to form a coalition and began to lobby the government … (full text).

Chukwumuanya Igboekwu of Physicians for Social Justice adds his own critiques to the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility study on pharmaceutical industry shortcomings in addressing AIDS … Underscoring the gravity of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on this World AIDS Day is the release earlier this week of a study estimating that AIDS will move from fourth to third among top causes of death worldwide in the next quarter century, with almost 120 million deaths projected. Increased access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs could help slice a quarter of this number, bringing global AIDS deaths down to 89 million. Future outcomes depend on what the international community does in the present, according to Colin Mathers, who co-authored the study with World Health Organization (WHO) colleague Dejan Loncar … (full text).

He writes: … As a physician residing and working in one of Nigeria’s most remote rural regions in northern Nigeria, I know that the claim of the pharmaceutical industry, that poor infrastructure is largely responsible for lack of access to medicines, is unfounded. I know that even with the limited human and material resources at our disposal in rural hospitals, we still have the capacity to run an effective anti-retroviral treatment program. As a matter of fact, AIDS treatment programs can successfully be integrated into the Primary Health Care system of most developing countries. For example, to run a Mother-to-Child Transmission Prevention program (PMTCT) requires no state-of-the -art medical facilities; what is most needed are knowledgeable people who can pass the proper information on to others. Even a trained midwife can successfully offer such services in the most resource constrained rural setting with very minimal health infrastructure … (full text, 13 November 2006).

links:

National Agency for the Control of AIDS NACA, Nigeria;

Institute of African Studies Events;

Open Society Institute, public health program, 6 pdf-pages, not dated

Physicians for Social Justice PSJ;

Global Giving;

The Human Rights Advocacing Program HRAP;

Federation Of Catholic Medical And Dental Students FECAMDS Nigeria;

Low raises the red lanterns;

NOVARTIS VERSUS INDIA: PUTTING PROFIT BEFORE HUMAN RIGHTS, April 30, 2007.

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