The Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), has started off an investigation and a petition to relevant authorities against the nurse who exposed the identites of HIV patients at the hospital she works with in Rivers State.
CiSHAN condemned the act which they say will not only encourage other people to stigmatize and discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, but will also increase the already high stigma index in the country. It also revealed that preliminary investigation revealed that the nurse’s name is Deborah Chinasa Anaba, and not Ejimbe Lilian as claimed in her Facebook handle.
The statement reads in full;
The attention of the Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN) has been drawn to the purported social media publication by a practicing Nurse who goes by the name Ejimbe Lilian targeted at perpetuating stigma and discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Most worrisome is the fact that this Nurse is a licensed and trained health care professional who is under oath of confidentiality to protect both the identity of her patients and the sanctity of her profession. This singular act will not only encourage other people to stigmatize and discriminate against people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria but will also increase the already high stigma index in the country.
Knowing that there is an Anti-Stigma and Discrimination Law in Nigeria, CiSHAN has conducted a preliminary investigation and made the following findings:
1. Her real name is Deborah Chinasa Anaba
2. She is a Staff Nurse with Nobsams Hospital 44 Trans Amadi Industrial Layout, Port Harcourt. Our State Coordinator visited the hospital to verify her real identity and matched the online pictures with the picture Hospital and her colleagues in the same hospital
3. The Medical Director of the Hospital is trying to shield her from being arrested and prosecuted
4. River State Government through the Ministry of Health has been collaborating with the Civil Society and Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS to fish-out this unfortunate poster and bring her to justice using the Anti Stigma Law.
With these preliminary findings, we have planned the following actions
1. A petition to Rivers Commissioner of Police for her immediate arrest and prosecution in accordance with the Anti-Discrimination Law
2. A petition to the Registrar of Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria regarding the breech of ethical conduct and subsequent withdraw of her Nursing License/blacklisting
3. A letter to Federal Ministry of Health/PEPFAR/WHO/ River State Government to immediately investigate the treatment program in the facility and close it down to avoid further discrimination by the hospital management and staff as we suspect that Management is actively aware of her actions hence the shield, they are providing for her.
4. From her immediate family, we demand an unreserved apology to the HIV community in Nigeria.
On this Note, we want to emphasize and further educate the general public that it is an offence to disclose someone HIV status to another person without their written and documented permission. Anyone found contravening this is stigmatizing and thereby commits an offence punishable under the Anti Stigma Law enacted into law on 28th November 2014.
We urge Civil Society and PLHIV Members to remain calm as we will ensure that justice is done appropriately.
Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN)
See the nurse’s post below: