Ghana is experiencing a shortage of anti-retroviral medication specifically the Abacavir Lamivudine regimen for Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) across the country.
This is according to the Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+ Ghana) which claims their members are unable to access the essential drug at hospitals across the country.
The Abacavir Lamivudine regimen is one of the many regimens that PLHIV need daily to attain viral suppression, keep healthy and productive and in so doing, enable the country reduce new HIV infections and end AIDS by 2030.
“Our members across Ghana reported a shortage of the adult dose of ABACAVIR LAMIVUDINE in August this year,” the group said.
In a statement drawing attention to the shortage, NAP+ Ghana revealed that the anti-retroviral medicines, which had arrived in Ghana in July, are being held at Ghana’s harbor awaiting a tax waiver from the finance ministry.
“The anti-retroviral medication had been bought with donor funds and at no cost to the Country and should not attract tax. Meanwhile, they are being held until AU TAX, ECOWAS TAX and COVID-19 TAX are paid before we can access our medication,” NAP+ Ghana said.
Due to the shortage of Abacavir/Lamivudine for adults, some PLHIV are being put on Tenofovir Lamivudine Dolutegravir (TLD) regimen instead.
“Of utmost concern is that some persons who are put on Abacavir/Lamivudine which is stuck at the harbour, are persons who had kidney and liver problems while on the TLD regimen. One of our members has not been on medication for 4 months due to a shortage of Abacavir/Lamivudine in her facility.
“Our investigations revealed that in some facilities, prescribers give Abacavir/Lamivudine medication meant for children to adults. Therefore, instead of one tablet a day, they have to take five tablets in the morning and five tablets in the evening, of the children’s dose,” the group said.
NAP+ Ghana warned that should the drugs continue to delay at the port; the disease will build-up resistance to the anti-retroviral medication and those on TLD will develop severe liver and kidney problems.
It added that some members have gone off their medications totally and this “can spell doom.”
“We entreat all radio and television stations; traditional media and stakeholders to join the Network of Persons Living with HIV to call on the government for an immediate waiver of all taxes and release of medications at the harbor,” the group appealed.
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