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Government makes ARV drugs more widely available
Wednesday 25 May 2005
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GHANA: Government makes ARV drugs more widely available


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


ACCRA, 13 January (PLUSNEWS) - The Ghanaian government has announced plans to spend US $6 million on making antiretroviral (ARV) treatment more widely available to people living with AIDS over the next two years.

The programme aims to increase the number of hospitals where government-subsidised ARV drugs are available from four to 16 by the end of 2006, and to increase the number of people receiving subsidised antiretroviral therapy from the current 2,100.

The health ministry reckons that 72,000 people in Ghana would benefit from ARV treatment, which prolongs the life of people living with AIDS and improves their state of health. However, it has not set any target for increasing the number of beneficiaries.

"The biggest challenge to us on this planned increase is sustainability," Sam Boateng, the head of drug procurement at the ministry of health told PlusNews.

Ghana's subsidised ARV programme is a luxury that is only made possible by funding from international donors. The government has to pay $7,200 per year to treat each subsidised patient in a country whose gross domestic product per capita income is only $304 per year. Patients are charged $5 per month for the drugs prescribed.

"Obviously we will have to sustain the increased numbers on ARVs in terms of finance and human resource capacity, as well as providing diagnostic and CD4 count machines at all sites throughout the country," Boateng said.

CD4 machines are used to determine the strength of a person's immune system and determine when treatment should start.

Boateng said that by the end of 2006, the government hopes to establish at least one clinic for dispensing ARV drugs in each of Ghana's 10 administrative regions. It spent $1.5 million on antiretroviral treatment in 2004.

According to UNAIDS, the country has an HIV prevalence rate of 3.6 percent, among the lowest in Africa.

[ENDS]


 
Recent GHANA Reports
Single battle-plan to hit both TB and HIV/AIDS,  19/May/05
HIV-AIDS on decline for first time in 5 years, survey shows,  15/Apr/05
Local employers start to care for their HIV-positive staff,  7/Apr/05
HIV-care initiative ESTHER comes to town,  18/Feb/05
Universities to train teachers and youth leaders in AIDS awareness,  31/Jan/05
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