The Member of Parliament for Ntetwe County in Kyankwanzi district, Joel Sebikali, has called for a probe into activities of officials at the ministry of health whom he has accused of failing to avail adequate anti retro-viral drug for HIV/AIDS patients in the country especially at sub county hospitals.
“Many people across the country have been calling me and my colleagues expressing their frustrations in receiving ARVs in their different localities. Why should we let people die yet at times we see reports where health officials’ burn expired drugs which is just wasted. This is tax payers money you are playing around with,” Sebikali charged, before adding that, “We need to probe activities in the ministry of health to avoid these shortages of ARVs so as to save the millions of people suffering from HIV/Aids across the country.
Sebikali was recently speaking at a parliamentary health committee meeting where the ministry of health officials led by the ministers of health Jane Aceng, Sarah Opendi and the permanent secretary, Diana Atwine, who were appearing to before the committee to give the performance report of the government health sector.
The minister Jane Aceng while interfacing with the committee chaired by Bukuya County MP, Micheal Bukenya, revealed that currently 940,347 patients are on ARV treatment and that the elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) and new infections has so far dropped from 22,000 in 2012 to 3400 in 2016.
Sebikali however said that whereas the minister was giving the committee figures of improvement in the treatment of the HIV/Aids scourge, it is unfortunate for the ministry of health in each financial year to receive billions of shillings to provide ARVs to patients yet many die across the country without receiving the required drugs to prolong their lives.
According to budget estimates for the year 2017/2018, government plans to spend 46 billion shillings for the purchase of ARVS for HIV/AIDS patients.
MPs said this money should be appropriately channeled to enable patients’ access drugs and prolong their lives so as to realize economic development through a health workforce.