TODAY -

ART shortage worries Cong MLA; MACS allays fears
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, August 03 2022: Congress MLA Th Lokeshwar drew the attention of the assembly during zero hour of the ongoing session on Wednesday with regard to the problem of unavailability of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) medicines in the state since April and urged the government to up steps to provide the same to HIV/AIDS afflicted people at the earliest.

Referring to reports published in state dailies regarding the shortage/unavailability of ART medicines, Lokeshwar urged the leader of the House and the health minister to take the matter seriously and solve the problem as soon as possible.

The reports stated that owing to shortage of stock of ART medicines at the 11 government-run ART centres and 2 NGO centres, over 14,000 HIV/AIDS afflicted patients have been put under distress.

Medicines meant for children are being given to adult patients, thereby lowering the effectiveness.

Thus, he urged the government to help alleviate the suffering of HIV/AIDS afflicted patients.

However, Manipur State AIDS Control Society (MACS) had clarified that it has enough TLD stocks for 4.78 months as on August 3 and is managing low stock of paediatric medicines with adult Anti-Retroviral (ARV) medicines through dose management.

Noting public apprehension and uproar over shortage ARV medicines as claimed by People Living with HIV (PLHIV), MACS project director Haobam Rosita urged PLHJV community not to panic or be misled with news and social media posts.

In a statement, the project director said there are 13,802 PLHIV currently on ART in the state under its care out of which 11,769 (85 per cent) are on TLD (ARV medicines).

While conveying that MACS has enough TLD stock for 4.78 months as on August 3, she also assuaged that for some of the paediatrics medicines, which are low in stock, MACS is managing with adult ARV medicines through dose management.

The MACS director also informed that all ARV drugs are centrally procured and supplied by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO).

However, since May 5, 2022 SACSs have been instructed to locally procure some of the ARV drugs.

Accordingly, MACS completed the first procurement of three medicines and the second procurement for four paediatrics medicines and seven adult medicines is under process.

In extreme conditions of zero stock condition, as per NACO directive, individual PLHWs can purchase the medicines for not more than one month and reimbursement can be claimed from Manipur State AIDS Control Society, she explained, adding that MACS had in the past provided reimbursements to PLHIVs after submission of proper bills, vouchers and relevant documents.

Regarding complaints on regime change, MACS is doing phase wise transitions of PLHIV on specific NNRTI (Non-Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor) and PI (Protease Inhibitor) based ARV regimen to DTG (Dolutegravir) based regimen as per directions from NACO, added the release by MACS director.


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