Uganda: ARV Scarcity Hits Kalangala

By Henry Lubulwa

Kalangala - The persistent stockouts of antiretroviral drugs in Kalangala's outlying islands continues to threaten lives of people living with HIV/Aids virus.

Many patients enrolled on the HIV/Aids treatment at landing sites, including Bubeke, Jaana, Lwanabatya, Nakibanga, Kasekulo Bumangi and Bujumba complain that they have spent two months without accessing the drugs and a few lucky ones who receive them get them in lesser portions.

Others fear that this will affect their viral load count which had reached a non-detectable level.

"Why is it that only few patients who are neither pregnant nor below the age of 18 are the only ones who get medication? In fact, many of those who are currently getting the drugs do not get full doses, which is threatening our lives. We ought to know why some of us are not catered for," Ms Rachel Namisango, a resident in Kasekulo Landing site, indicated.

The patients on HIV/Aids treatment poured out their frustrations at the weekend during advocacy meetings conducted in seven islands in Kalangala by Advocacy for Better Health Organisation under the Kalangala District NGO forum.

Dr Hillary Bitakaramire, the Kalangala District health officer, said although there has been a drug stockout since December, the district was supplied with some drugs last week.

"We have some drugs and it is because people in distant islands have not got their share. We are going to address their concern," he said by telephone yesterday.

However, Dr Bitakaramire said in some areas like Kyamuswa County, they managed to dispatch only two tins of drugs instead of 30 which were requisitioned for, due to shortage of the drugs.

Kalangala District currently has 10,350 people living with HIV/Aids out of its total population of 53,000 people, according to records from Kalangala Forum for People Living with HIV/Aids Network.

Source: All Africa