As Uganda marked 30th International Aids Candlelight Memorial day, more than 8000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Luweero are crying foul over shortage of septrine and dapsone in health centres.
According to Uganda Aids Indication Survey and district records, 39600 people in Luweero are infected with HIV/AIDS and 2640 are children below age of five years. 8000 people are currently living on antiretroviral drugs alongside Septrine and dapsone. Luweero HIV Prevalence rate stands at 9% above the national rate of 7.3%.
The district coordinator for people living with HIV/ AIDS Abdullah Musisi says that HIV Patients with CD4 cell Count below 200 are advised to take two tablets of septrine or dapsone to prevent diseases that include diarhoea, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis and other bacterial illness that frequently attack them.
Musisi notes that however Luweero is currently hit hard by intermittent supply of the drugs and ARVs are ineffective without combination of the drugs.He adds even PLAN Uganda that was supplementing the government disbursements pulled hence worsening drug shortage.
Milly Nakaweesi, a person living with HIV/AIDS, says that she has spent three months hunting for septrine at Butuntumula Health Centre IV in vain. Nakaweesi says she tried to buy the drug from private clinics but failed due to poverty and this greatly worsened her status. She adds that due to lack of septrine her body is developing chronic fever something that may lead to immediate death.
Steven Ssemanda, another HIV/AIDS patient, says that he has lived on ARVs for seven years but the failure to access septrin in the last few months has greatly weakened his body and affected his attempts to work and support himself.
Annet Namatovu, an HIV Patient, says that some of them are allergic to septrine and were advised to use depsone but government rarely stocks the tablets. Namatovu says that private clinics sells one tablet at 300 shillings which is costly and some patients are going without it hence making ARVs dose incomplete.
Steven Ssebowa, a patient also, says that they also lack Ready to use therapeutic foods something that has worsened their status and called for government intervention to save the patients from death.
The Luweero HIV/AIDS focal Person Eddy Kalyesubula confirmed the shortage of drugs but says that the issue is being addressed by Ministry Of Health and National Medical Stores.
The 30th International Aids Candlelight Memorial day was marked at Kasana Playground in Luweero under the theme ““Re-engaging Communities for HIV Prevention” and the slogan is “Accelerating community action towards zero new infections’.