Accra, Nov.11, GNA- The National AIDs Control Programme (NACP) had received enough stock of Anti Retroviral (ARVs) to supply Persons Living HIV (PLHIV) for a year, in response to speculations of shortage of the drug since June.
“We experienced shortage of ARVs in June but have now received our consignments at the ports,” Dr Nii Akwei Addo, NACP Programme Manager told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview in Accra.
He explained that though the consignments are coming in bits, “we hope to receive all the consignments by the middle of this month”.
News reports stated that hospitals especially in the Eastern Region reported shortage of ARVs in June, which threatened the effective treatment of HIV and AIDS.
Dr Addo explained that the importation of the drugs was awarded as contract to six companies who won the competitive bid at a cost of $8.1 million.
He noted that that there was a target of 15, 058 people with advanced HIV infections to receive ART for 2012 out of which 7, 497 people have been put on the drug as at June.
“As at June, the cumulative number of people with advanced HIV infection receiving ART have been 72,839, of which 69,267 were adults and 3, 572 children. The number of people currently on treatment is 66,504 out of which 63,236 are adults and 3,268 are children.
“There are 166 service delivery points. The alarming shortages are compelling the HIV facilities to ration first line drugs to PLHIV in a bid to prevent a complete shortage of the ARVs,” Dr Addo said.
The NACP Programme Manager said under the new Transitional Funding Mechanism, government had awarded a GH¢6 million, which is a Ministry of Health Budget to DANDAMS, a local antiretroviral manufacture to produce the ARVs for use.
The move is meant to facilitate preparation towards sustaining the programme after the global fund ends by April next year.
Dr Addo said after April 30, 2013, all new cases would be the sole responsibility of government with the full task of bearing the entire cost.
The Ghana AIDS Commission is being supported with GH¢5.7 million.
Some PLHIV the GNA spoke to said their survival depended so much on the ARVs and the persistent interruption was a nightmare.
These concerns were also shared by the National President of Network of Association of PLHIV, Mr Clement Azagwe who said: “If we joke as a country, those of us living with the disease could develop drug resistance and this will potentially undermine our efforts to achieve universal access to treatment.”