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Hogan takes charge to solve ARV crisis

Resource type: News

Pretoria News (South Africa) |

by Anso Thom The Health Department has intervened in the crisis in the Free State after financial mismanagement has caused a shortage of antiretroviral drugs. E-mails were sent to ARV treatment sites in the province last week, ordering them to stop putting new patients on ARVs with immediate effect, with health workers expressing concern that the supply of drugs would also run dry by January next year. Health Minister Barbara Hogan announced yesterday that she had dispatched a team of officials from her department to the province to work with the provincial health and treasury departments to find ways of “resolving their financial and budgetary problems”. Hogan also ordered the immediate transfer of R9.5 million to procure essential drugs for patients on the programme. The US President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief has also granted permission for funds to be released to two non-governmental organisations working in the province to buy ARVs. “The Health Minister has directed that we engage urgently with the province to support them to respond to this challenge. “The minister had directed that a team from the national department visits the Free State as a matter of urgency to understand the nature and extent of the challenges that they face,” confirmed Dr Yogan Pillay, deputy Director-General in charge of strategic health programmes in the Health Department. “For us it is important that we do not in any way compromise the health of our patients – including those who either have been initiated, or need to be initiated into the ARV programme as a result of budget difficulties,” said Pillay. Meanwhile, the Treatment Action Campaign earlier called for an immediate end to the stoppages and an investigation into the source of these shortages and stoppages, which they said stemmed from gross financial mismanagement within the Free State health department. The TAC demanded the establishment of an interim committee and process which would ensure that treatment was made available to patients while the investigation and audit was under way. – health-e news service

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South Africa


AIDS, HIV, TAC, Treatment Action Campaign