Oct 03, 2010 News
The struggle by the Ministry of Health over the past several months to maintain its supply of antiretroviral drugs has not be due to the lack of finances but rather because of the inability of the supplier to deliver.
This statement was made by Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Friday evening even as he launched World AIDS 2010 at Cara Lodge, on Quamina Street, in the city.
“We have had money and we have paid for our antiretroviral drugs but somehow the supplier has been unable to meet his obligation to us…I know the media has been behind us and it has forgotten the story because they think we have solved the problem…”
But according to Minister Ramsammy, the problem has only been temporarily solved as the supplier has still not been able to provide either the emergency supply or the larger order. Minister Ramsammy said that the Ministry has had to rely on friends in Suriname, Haiti, Ghana and Jamaica.
“I thank PAHO/WHO; I thank SCMS and USAID and all of our colleagues that have been helping; they have stood by us but we can’t keep borrowing; the supplier must meet their obligation.”
The Minister alluded to the shortage situation in order to amplify the point that although Guyana continues to make significant strides in addressing HIV/AIDS, there are still some challenges that surface.
“These are the risks we face; because while on the one hand everyone wants us to meet certain transparency as it is called, transparency has its own challenges,” Minister Ramsammy asserted.
According to him, although the Ministry of Health has used the open tendering process thus causing a previous supplier to be changed the new supplier who fairly won the tendering process has not been able to meet its obligation.
“That is the dilemma although we have many things that we can celebrate we still have things that remain threats and ensuring the reliable supply of our antiretroviral medicines remains one of those threats.”
It was just a few months ago the media had highlighted that the local health sector was being rocked by a shortage of the antiretroviral drug, Efavirenz, a combination drug intended to treat persons infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Minister Ramsammy in admitting to the state of affairs had revealed that the problem was a countrywide one which had resulted through no fault of Ministry of Health officials.
A supply of some 3,000 bottles of the much needed Efavirenz, antiretroviral medication was scheduled to arrive in the country this morning, thereby bringing relief to the health sector which has been battling with a shortage of the drug for some time.
Minister Ramsammy told this publication last evening that his Ministry has been able to confirm that the medication along with several others will arrive aboard an Amerijet Cargo flight.
Another supply of about 14,000 bottles is scheduled to arrive soon after, according to the Minister.
This will ensure that the local health sector has an adequate supply of the drug until this time next year.
World AIDS Day 2010 was launched along with an innovative Supermarket Initiative which will see the involvement of some 10 supermarkets in the city. World AIDS Day 2010 will be observed under the theme “Universal Access and Human Rights.”
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