Thursday, April 17, 2008

(TIMES) Misguided departure from ARVs can be costly, warns minister

Misguided departure from ARVs can be costly, warns minister
By Times Reporter

IT is sad that some AIDS patients are dying after abandoning anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) for tetrasil and selenium, Health Deputy Minister Lwipa Puma has said. Dr Puma said some patients tended to shift to other treatment options that some people promise could cure them.

He said this in an interview in Lusaka yesterday after officiating at the launch of a Network of Zambian People Living with HIV/AIDS (NZP+) research-based policy dialogue access to medical services report.
Dr Puma said he wondered why some patients were spending huge sums of money on drugs that could never cure them when the Government was offering free ARVs in all health institutions.

“This option medication which people are cheated about is contributing to unnecessary deaths among those living with the virus,” he said.

He also advised that anti-retroviral treatment should be sought early enough, before one’s CD4 count declines.

Dr Puma said a survey in 12 districts showed that general infrastructural problems constituted a major obstacle to both clients and healthcare providers.

He said this year, the ministry had allocated some money to construction of hospitals in Chiengi, Kaputa, Lufwanyama, and Mpulungu districts.

The projects would cost between K1.7 billion to K2 billion.
Staff houses would also be built in an effort to bring health service delivery closer to people.

Dr Puma said the ministry was working to ensure that it this year placed 52,000 adults and 8,000 children on HIV/AIDS treatment.
Earlier, NZP+ chairperson Miriam Banda reiterated the organisation’s position on encouraging people to stick to ARVs.

Ms Banda urged those on ARVs not to stop the treatment but to continue until a cure was found.

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