Anti-retroviral drugs must always be available – AIDS Ambassador
A HIV and AIDS Ambassador has appealed to the Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service to ensure regular supply of anti-retroviral drugs in hospitals to boost the health of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
Apostle Matel Gracia Sylvano told the GNA in an interview that even though people infected with the virus were supposed to take the anti-retroviral drugs daily until their death, the drugs were sometimes not readily available at public health facilities.
Apostle Sylvano, who is housing and taking care of more than 25 PLWHAs in Tema, stated that some of the patients stayed without the drugs for months because of they cannot access them.
A male patient (name withheld), who supported Apostle Sylvano’s call, said the drugs were not readily available, adding that sometimes prescriptions are given to them to buy the drugs from either Korle Bu Teaching Hospital or the Ridge Hospital.
Apostle Sylvano said it was good that successive governments over the years had been formulating policies to reduce the rate of HIV infection in the country, but more must be done to ensure that those already infected would enjoy relative good health.
He said the health of PLWHAs must not be toyed with in anyway but rather their issue must be a concern to all.
Apostle Sylvano said it was about time Ghanaians took the issue of HIV/AIDS seriously and personally since “there is no step without HIV”, explaining that people must bear in mind that anyone they interact with in town could be HIV positive.
Meanwhile, government has announced that from 2014, raw materials imported for the local production of anti-retroviral drugs would be exempted from import duty and Valued Added Tax (VAT) as a measure to further boost the fight against HIV/AIDS.
This was contained in the 2014 budget recently presented to parliament by Mr Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.
Several HIV/AIDS activists have welcomed the directive as many hope that the cost of processing the drug locally would reduce the cost and at the same time make it more accessible.
Others however think that local standards may not match imported retroviral drugs thus putting the health of PLWHAs in danger.