ARVs drugs in short supply – Coalition

Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARVs) for the treatment of Persons Living with HIV (PLHIVs) is in short supply, thereby putting the lives of thousands in danger, Non-State Actors in health and development (NSA) Ghana, has warned.

According to the NSA, out of a target population of 193,901 PLHIVs who were supposed to be put on the ARVs treatment, only 173,000 were currently benefiting from the treatment due to the non availability of the drugs at designated health facilities across the country.

A situation which the NGO network said the government needed to address urgently to avert a looming disaster.

According to the spokesperson of the NSA, Mrs Cecelia Senoo, “70,000 packs of the ARVs were expected to be procured by government with delivery  in  December last year, but  to date,  nothing  has arrived.”

Without adequate access to their life-saving medicines, the NSA spokesperson said, this could lead PLHIVs developing not only drug resistance build up but also potential deaths.

Besides, this according to her would create difficulties in enrolling newly identified PLHIV onto treatment, explaining that HIV programming gains made over the years were likely to be negatively impacted.

“ARVs are not only life-saving medicines for PLHIVs but also, they are equally important in halting the spread of HIV when used as both Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP),” she said, adding that “adequate supply of these commodities cannot, under any circumstances be compromised”.  

The NSA spokesperson commended the ongoing international support from the Global Fund for AIDS, TB, Malaria (GF-ATM) and the President’s  Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR),  and stated that the  government needed to continue its counterpart funding to enable Ghana to  contain the  epidemic by 2030.

While commending the government for its commitment to the national HIV and AIDS response, she stressed that the country could take control of its HIV epidemic by remaining a serious partner to its key donors such that adequate supply of HIV commodities was assured at all times to save lives and to contribute effectively to the last mile in reaching HIV epidemic control.  

As a national level advocacy network established in 2017, the NSA  continues with its vision and mission to improve health outcomes for the majority of Ghanaians, especially the marginalised and vulnerable.

By Norman Cooper

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