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Health Centres in Lira Giving ARVs in Bulk to Patients

Emily Awio, in charge ART clinic at Ogur HCIV, says that the bulk ARVs are given to people to last them six months. She explains that the drugs are given to people who have a stable viral load and those who have been on treatment for more than two years.

Audio 5

Health facilities in Lira have resorted to distributing Anti-retroviral drugs in bulk to Persons living with HIV.

This initiative follows last years’ experience when several people especially People with Disabilities-PWDs and adolescents abandoned the treatment after failing to access their drug refills at health facilities following the ban on public transport as one of the measures to contain the spread of covid-19.

Some of the health facilities which started the initiative include Ogur Health Centre IV, Lira Regional Referral Hospital, Aromo Health Centre III and Amach Health Centre IV.

Emily Awio, in charge ART clinic at Ogur HCIV, says that the bulk ARVs are given to people to last them six months. She explains that the drugs are given to people who have a stable viral load and those who have been on treatment for more than two years.

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Florence Aketch, an adolescent living with HIV said the initiative of distributing the drugs in bulk is a relief to her and her colleague who could not travel to the health facilities for drug refills.

Sharon Among, the former Miss Youth Positive says giving ARVs in bulk is a great move especially for the adolescence who struggle to get travel permits from the leaders to access health facilities.

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But Lillian Mworeko, the Regional Coordinator International Community of Women Living with HIV in Eastern Africa, believes that giving ARVs in bulk may not be a solution because some people do not want to keep their medication for fear of stigma.

Mworeko cites some adolescents who have not disclosed their status to relatives.

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Victor Rwengabo, the HIV coordinator for Mid North at the Uganda Aids Commission-UAC says that they are in partnership with the Ministry of Health and District Health Teams, to ensure that Persons living with HIV receive all the necessary care and treatment amidst this pandemic.

Following the suspension of public transport, several districts came up with initiatives to ensure that people living with HIV continue receiving treatment. In some districts, health workers resorted to the door to door delivery of the life-prolonging Antiretroviral (ARV) while others started distributing anti-retroviral drugs to HIV positive under the community outreach program.

Under the program, antiretroviral drugs will on designated days be delivered to health facilities closer to the homes of HIV positive people.

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