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HIV/AIDS Patients In Kabarole fail to get access to ART :: Uganda Radionetwork

HIV/AIDS Patients In Kabarole fail to get access to ART

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HIV/AIDS patients in Rwenzori region are finding it difficult to access anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) because it is expensive to get their CD4 count.

The Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) in Fort Portal is charging high fees for the CD4 count, which some patients can not afford.

The CD4 count machine at Buhinga Referral Hospital which patients have been using free of charge is out of service, having broken down twice.

The machine was donated to the hospital by the Ministry of Health.

A CD4 count machine determines the strength of the immune system and when a patient should start taking ARVs.

In the past, JCRC has been charging 11,000 shillings for the CD4 count but now it has increased the charges to 32,000 shillings.

The centre serves patients from the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Bundibugyo and Kamwenge.

Some patients who had turned up this morning at JCRC to have their CD4 count left disappointed after learning that the charges had been increased.

Henry Karamagi a patient from Rwimi in Kabarole district says that he is not sure if he will be able access treatment because he can not afford the fees charged at JCRC.

Karamagi says that he has no option but look for extra money to get his CD4 count.

He also wants the JCRC to reduce on the charges.

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Deborah Kabakara, a resident of Hapuyo Sub County in Kyegegwa district says that she was not aware of increase in charges for the CD4 count.

Kabakara says that she will save money in order to get her CD4 count.

When contacted, Dr. Mary Kiconco, the in-charge of Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) Fort Portal regional centre refused to comment on the matter.

Dr. Charles Olar, the Medical Superintendent Buhinga Referral Hospital says that the continued break down of the machine is due to poor maintaince.

Olar says that the hospital plans to recruit a technician who will specially be in-charge of the machine to avoid further damages.

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