Uganda needs Shs52b for ARVs monthly – health official

Arua- Uganda needs approximately Shs52 billion per month to purchase anti-retroviral drugs commonly known as ARVs, Dr Christine Ondoa, the director general Uganda Aids Commission, has said.

Dr Ondoa said currently government is supplying 557,000 people with the first line ARVs which costs about Shs40,000 per month.

However, the number of people who need ARVs in the country is 1.3 million. She made the remarks during the elimination of mother-to-child transmission stakeholder’s meeting in Arua District last week.

She warned that if the number of the infected people keeps on increasing, it will be more expensive for the country.

“Let us keep the about 33 million people HIV free while the 1.6 million on drugs. When there are fewer new infections, we shall have an HIV-free generation. The number of babies infected with HIV substantially reduced from 28,000 to about 8,000 in 2013,” Dr Ondoa said.

Statistics show that there are 1.4 million people who are orphans due to HIV-related deaths.

ImprovementThe minister of Health, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, also said the country was on the road to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and a promise of better results. According to a West Nile region elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) status report, the proportion of women attending the first antenatal visit rose from 8,644 to 9,361 in the last five months.

The number of women delivering at a health facility also rose to 6,007 in April the number of men testing together with their pregnant women at the first antenatal visit rose by 49 per cent.

Dr Rugunda said the statistics show improvement in the fight against HIV in the country.“At the rate we are moving, we will reach the proposed target in six years of having an HIV free generation by 2020,” he said.

The statistics collected were part of a pilot programme of the EMTCT campaign in the eight West Nile districts of Arua, Maracha, Nebbi, Zombo, Koboko, Yumbe, Adjumani and Moyo.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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