Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under their umbrella organization the National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Network in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) have launched a campaign to challenge government to ensure that the country does not run out of essentials drugs
By Juliet Waiswa
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) under their umbrella organization the National Forum of People Living with HIV/AIDS Network in Uganda (NAFOPHANU) have launched a campaign to challenge government to ensure that the country does not run out of essentials drugs.
During a press conference held at the PATH offices in Kololo, the Chief of Party USAID, Moses Dombo, explained that the campaign is aimed at requiring government to consider doubling the annual budget for HIV/AIDS and TB drugs.
The campaign is dubbed Drug Stock- Out Kills! Stop it
CSO want government to double its funding commitment for HIV/AIDS and TB drugs from the current sh90bn to sh180m to grant universal access to treatment to all people in need of antiretroviral therapy and TB.
Prossy Nanyanzi, one of the people living with HIV/AIDS and is affected by the drug stock out, narrates her experience at the PATH office in Kololo during the launch of the Drug Stock-Out Kills. Stop it campaign. Photo/Juliet Waiswa.
According to Ministry of Health officials at the Quantification and Procurement Planning Unit, up to 229,000 patients who are supposed to be on treatment are missing out on the life-saving drugs because of shortage of funding.
The health official who preferred anonymity said that this year, sh84bn was allocated for HIV medicines; sh10bn for malaria and sh6bn for TB.
Of the 600,000 patients who get their treatment from public health facilities, money from government can only support 150,000, the official said.
The CSO also want government to put mechanisms in place that will ensure timely release and efficient use of these funds.
Dombo said; "There is need for proper distribution of drugs at avoid overstocking health facilities while others suffer under stocks or complete stock outs."
"We want the current sh90bn which has been the stipend for nearly half a decade, increased to sh180bn to avert the current HIV/AIDS and TB drug shortage," Dombo told the press at the PATH offices in Kampala on Monday.
Dombo said that funding for HIV/AIDS and TB drugs in the country currently comes from government, the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund.
The executive director PATH, Emmanuel Mugisha, revealed that development partners say that they would like to see government commit more funds to avert the crisis of HIV/AIDS and TB stock outs.
"It is time to increase domestic finance targeting HIV/AIDS and TB treatment. President Museveni has already indicated in his campaign manifesto that he will prioritize health in his next tenure of office. We want him to fulfill his promise and give more funds to HIV/AIDS and TB," Mugisha said.
One of the patients, Proscovia Nanyanzi, whose combination has been changed said, "I have been on HIV/AIDS treatment since 2003. I access my treatment from a government facility in Kampala.
"Stock outs of HIV/AIDS drugs have interrupted my treatment. I have been switched from one treatment to another. I was on Abacavir and Tenofir.
But recently I was switched to a new combination. It has a lot of side effects," reveals.
The executive director NAFOPHANU, Stella Kentutsi, confirmed that since December there have been periodic stock outs of HIV/AIDS and TB drugs. Moroto for example has not had TB dugs for the last three months.
CSO call for more HIV/AIDS, TB funding