Emergency supply of HIV drugs granted to Papua New Guinea
HIV-positive Papua New Guineans can breathe a small sigh of relief after an “emergency” supply of HIV medication has been granted.
And now, the country has a supply that will last them until the end of 2018.
“We worked with UNAIDS and UNICEF who are mobilising another three to four month of anti-retrovirals. I’m assured by our UNICEF team that this will be in the country within two weeks,” the country’s Health minister Puka Temu told parliament, reported Gay Star News.
‘We did an emergency order, and I want to assure that 500,000 tablets are sitting at the customs,’ he added.
Budgeting cuts from the government’s Department of Health had plummeted stocks to a record low, leading campaigners to call the deficit a crisis.
They approved 4.5 million kina to order extra drugs to the country- which is the equivalent of £10,288,460.
Campaigner Lesley Bola said that the government promised to replenish the supply come the end of the year, reports Radio NZ.
Although the government have failed to do this during dry spells in the past, Bola said the situation looks “positive.”
“It looks positive, and I am determined that there’s going to be work done, and it will be done as long as we are here to advocate to the government,” said HIV advocate and campaigner Lesley Bola to RNZ.
Campaigners said that the country was eating into its “buffer stock” of treatment.
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“Miracle potions” loaded with herbs and urine have been sold as methods to combat HIV in the midst of the shortage, said the news outlet.
“We’re talking about quite a serious situation … where we are now currently eating into our three- to six-month buffer stock of anti-retroviral treatment,” said David Bridger, the head of UNAIDS in Papua New Guinea.
The country accounts for 95 percent of all HIV cases in the Pacific.