The National Aids Commission (NAC) and Sexually Transmitted Diseases Control Program (STDCP) have called on all persons living with HIV/AIDS to stop worrying over the shortage of anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs in the country.
The announcement was made at a joint press conference by the two agencies, held in Monrovia, to discuss a need for alleviation of tension due to scarcity of HIV/ARV drugs in health facilities across the country.
Solomon Hinneh, an official of NAC, said, “the recent [shortage] of HIV commodities (ARVs) was as a result of negotiations which were ongoing but in a slow manner with key stakeholders of the supply chain system to ensure that private health facilities as well as public facilities receive ARVs.” He cited challenges in getting the drugs from the Free Port of Monrovia for which the drugs could not be made available at the health facilities since they were brought into the country.
“To date, the National Drugs Services (NDS) and its partners have supplied HIV drugs (AVRs) to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital (JFK), ELWA Hospital and TB Annex and we are also informed that some other facilities, including Home of Dignity, were partially supplied, while a few others are still experiencing shortage of the drugs,” Hinneh said.
According to him, NAC and its HIV/AIDS control program regretted the shortage of the drugs in the country and as such, mechanisms have been put in place to mitigate even future challenges.
He called on all persons living with HIV/AIDS to resume taking their regular medication at the designated healthcare centers across the country.
The president of Liberia Network of People living with HIV (LIBNEP+), Josephine Godoe, said due to the lack of AVR in the country, HIV/AIDS patients have been struggling to get their immune systems in consonance with the need to live longer.
“When we met NAC, we were told that ARVs are in the country, but they too could not tell exactly what was the cause for which all the health facilities catering to people living with HIV not receiving them the drugs,” Godoe said.
She noted, “the situation has instilled fear in people living with HIV/AIDS until this pronouncement, which has said there is a consignment of drugs available that will take care of them.”
She also said ARV is a treatment on which HIV patients live longer if only it is taken as required by prescription.
Godoe added that NAC’s leadership intervened and worked hard to get the drugs supplied across the country where people living with HIV go to seek treatment and care.
She said the drugs for the critically ill HIV patients are lacking at the Home of Dignity health center and that is posing serious threat to the lives of the patients.