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14.12.2004 General News

30,000 PLWAS to benefit from anti-retroviral drugs

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Tamale, Dec. 14, GNA - About 30,000 Persons Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWA'S) in Ghana are to benefit from anti-retroviral drugs by the end of 2005.

Currently, some 1,700 PLWAS are receiving the therapeutic drugs, Mrs Justina Anglaaere, Anti-Retroviral Drugs Campaign Coordinator of the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), announced this in Tamale during a round table discussion on access to the drugs. The forum was organised by ISODEC, for civil society organisations; regional directors of health; representatives of the regional house of chiefs, and regional coordinating directors from Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Brong Ahafo regions.

The participants discussed the critical issue of accessing AIDS treatment in the Ghana and examined how far the nation had performed in protecting the human rights of PLWAS.

Mrs Anglaaere said the urgent issue facing the world today was how to safeguard the rights of PLWAS and improve their access to medical treatment.

She noted that although the UN Commission on Human Rights had underlined the need for member states to pursue policies that would promote the availability of sufficient quantities of HIV/AIDS drugs, the picture was still gloomy in developing countries.

Mrs Anglaaere said many PLWAS were unable to purchase anti-retroviral and other important drugs because they are too expensive.

She announced that the world's richer countries had established a Global Fund, to help in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria particularly in poorer countries.

She however expressed the fear that the unfavourable trade rules by the World Trade Organisation and other neo-liberal economic policies that favour the rich countries would undermine the initiative.

Mrs Christiana Alekuu, from the Ghana Health Service, said 2,000 PLWAS were expected to benefit from anti-retroviral drugs this year.

She said by 2007 all regional hospitals in the country would be administering the drugs being currently dispensed at the Korle Bu and Okomfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals, Atua Government Hospital and Saint Martin de Porres Hospital.

Mr. Clement Azigwe, a PLWAS appealed to the Government to channel money especially from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, to subsidise the prices of the anti-retroviral drugs. 15 Dec. 04

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