We need Antiretroviral drugs now – HIV patients.
Persons living with HIV in Ghana are demanding the immediate supply of Antiretroviral (ARV) medication to help them control the disease.
They stated that although the supply of the medicine has been inconsistent in the last two years, there has however been a “drastic shortage” in the last two months.
“In the whole of Ghana, there is a drastic shortage of Antiretroviral drugs; even the hospitals will tell you. They will say that the drugs are there but our people will go and there wouldn’t be any drug,” said the Greater Accra Regional chairman of Network of Persons Living with HIV, Raymond Ahorlu.
There have been media reports of a planned demonstration by persons living with HIV in Ghana due to the shortage of the Antiretroviral drugs.
In February this year, the Ghana AIDS Commission announced that the lives of thousands of persons living with HIV in Ghana was at risk following the shortage of the ARV.
The Commission attributed the shortage to the inferno which engulfed the Tema Central Medical Stores and destroyed millions of medical supplies.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Ahorlu indicated that they have on several occasions reported the matter to the government and other stakeholders but “they are using our lives for politics.”
He said in previous years, the government used to give them three to four months supply of the ARV but now, “you go to the hospital and they give you only two weeks to two months.”
According to him, following the non-availability of the ARV, some patients have lost their jobs due to the frequent permissions they seek from their employers to chase after the medicine.
Ahorlu disclosed that there are some local pharmaceutical companies that produce the ARV for other neighbouring companies to buy but expressed disappointment in government’s refusal to patronize their products to put an end to the frequent shortages.
“The ARV is produced in our country but the government doesn’t want to liaise with these companies so they the ARV will be produced for us and our neighbouring countries are buying from our country. They should support other pharmaceutical companies to produce ARV for us,” Mr. Ahorlu lamented.
“For the past two years now, there have been shortages of Antiretroviral and for two months now, there has been a shortage. The shortages are too much,” he complained.
He appealed to the government to take the necessary steps to rectify the situation since HIV patients “don’t have any other option than to take the ARV.”
The Antiretroviral drugs are used to control HIV infection and enable patients living with the disease to stay healthy for a long time.
Failure to stick to the ARV treatment schedule may cause treatment failures which could eventually lead to the death of the patient.