Ghana has no shortage of anti-retroviral drugs, don’t create unnecessary panic – Dr Stephen Atuahene

Director-General of the Ghana Aids Commission, Dr Stephen Kyeremeh Atuahene has debunked claims that a consignment of anti-retroviral drugs procured by the Health Ministry cannot be traced.

This follows reports indicating the medications are fast running out and should completely run out by May.

President of the National Association of Persons Living with HIV, Elsie Ayeh said they are at their wit’s ends as health officials begin rationing anti-retroviral drugs meant to sustain them.

However, Dr Atuahene said this information was not entirely true, and the reports were unnecessarily causing fear among these persons.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Midday News on March 18, he said, “We should not create needless anxiety among the persons living with HIV because I know that we have enough drugs at least from now up till May and hopefully, if the ministry’s commodities come in, then there would be no cause for alarm.”

The Director-General explained that the government had already arranged for these drugs to be in place before the current ones in the system were exhausted.

He added that the fact that health practitioners were rationing drugs did not mean a shortage. Dr. Atuahene said the particular facility might have almost exhausted what was allocated.

“I am aware that the government procured ARVs to fill the gap at least starting from May and if we do not receive government-procured ARVs, that is when we will begin to have shortage but presently, I cannot anticipate any shortage as being alleged and then speak to it specifically.

 “Not being able to account for it does not mean it is missing,” he said in response to claims that some $15 million worth of medications had gone missing, explaining that “Government through the Ministry of Health was supposed to procure anti-retroviral medicine. It was an arrangement between Ministry of Health and Global Fund and we are all fully aware that those drugs should be arriving by now,” he said.

Meanwhile, he assured that the Health Ministry was working round the clock to ensure that there are enough drugs in the system and there is no need for unnecessary panic.

“Presently the issue is one of the top priorities being considered by the new Minister for Health and I know he is an action man and will have it resolved as quickly as possible.

“Just last week, we had a meeting with the ministry together with the Global Fund on this subject matter and the necessary actions are being taken.

“Some should have arrived in December but not all of it. The assurance we have is that ministry has procured and the contractors or the suppliers will deliver,” he added.

Source: myjoyonline

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