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11.11.2005 Regional News

UCAART call for scaling up of access to ARV in the regions

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Accra, Nov. 11, GNA - The Coalition for Free and Universal Access to Antiretroviral Treatment (UCAART) on Friday called on the Government to scale up access to antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in the Regions, to help t save lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).

The Coalition made up of several non-governmental organisations working on HIV/AIDS in Ghana said a large number of people were dying due to lack of access to ARV and said immediate steps should be taken to address issues of affordability and accessibility.

Mrs Cecilia Senoo, an Executive Member of the Coalition, told journalists after a float through some principal streets of Accra, that ARV drugs could only be obtained at the Atuah Government and the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals.

She said people had to travel from other regions to obtain the drugs and "those who cannot travel have to die painfully". "Currently only 2,000 people are able to access the drugs, leaving a large number of others to their fate," she said. Mrs Senoo said the float was a step to create awareness of both policy makers and the public on the need to support PLWHAs, as "living with HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence."

She stated that the Coalition would soon present an official petition to Parliament to consider increasing accessibility to ARV drugs. Mr Akrong Iddissu, a member of the Wisdom Society, said the scarcity of ARV drugs had created many hardships for PLWHAs and called for much attention on its distribution.