The lives of thousands of persons living with HIV/AIDs hang in a balance as antiretroviral drugs in Ghana are fast depleting.
While some patients are receiving less than half of their needed dozes, others have been virtually travelling from health facility to health facility unable to access these essential program drugs.
The cold reality filled the sobs of a young woman who has been left desperate and depressed unable to find paediatric ARVs for her two-year-old son.
She told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador for weeks she has been moving from health centre to health centre to no avail. The best she got was a facility which told her; she could only get expired drugs to hold on to.
She narrated: “The last time I went to one facility, the pharmacist told me she doesn’t have much for her clients so she has been giving them expired drugs which is really bad.
Emotionally I don’t feel ok because if my son is sick he cannot tell me where he is suffering from. I am supposed to be there for him and if I can’t get help for him, what is he suppose to do. I am begging the government to come to our aid,”
Non-state actors in the HIV/AIDs fight are scared many HIV/AIDs patients will either relapse or in the worse case die if the scarcity in the ARVs is not plugged.
The coordinator for the network of persons living with HIV/AIDS Associations and NGOs in the Ashanti region Elsie Aryeah pointed out that some persons living with HIV Aids who have died within the period of the shortage could be a result of the sad developments.
She lamented, “We are burying one of us tomorrow; some have died these past few weeks; many are defaulting because they go for their medication and they cannot get it and the virus starts building up in them and they have to move to the second-line drugs that is even scarce,”
NGOs and CSOs including the Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) and NAPLAS together with the Ashanti regional technical office of the Ghana Aids Commission have already submitted a number of petitions to the Ghana Health Service asking for support
Ashanti Regional Director for HFFG Ira Akpalu warned that the situation poses further threat to patients with imuno deficiencies moving from hospital to hospital in search of drugs within the COVID 19 pandemic.
Ashanti Regional Director of Health, Dr Emmanuel Tinkorang will not assign reasons to the shortage of such essential program drugs beyond the pressures of COVID-19.
He, however, assured he will liaise with the ministry of health to find solutions to the supply problems in the delivery of HIV/AIDS Anti Retroviral Medications
Apart from the dangers to the lives of the over 340 thousand persons living with HIV/AIDs in Ghana, the trend threatens Ghana’s already derailed commitment to the UNAIDS 2020 goal which aims at ensuring that 90% of people know their HIV/AIDs status; 90% of people who test positive are on sustained antiretroviral treatment And 90% on ARVs will have suppressed their viral loads to the point of no transmission.