Donor Partners Describe Shortages of Antiretroviral Treatment in PNG as a ‘crisis’

By Staycey Yalo – EMTV News, Port Moresby

Shortages of Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) in Papua New Guinea has been described by key donor partners as a ‘crisis’.

While ART supplies will soon arrive in the country, it is only enough for four months. The shortage of the ART drugs also does not help the cause to fight HIV & AIDS in the country.

Minister for Health and HIV & AIDS, Sir Puka Temu, says he will divert more funding into purchasing more ART drugs as health still remains the government’s priority. Although it is a situation faced in many countries as well, key donor partners such as the United Nation’s Residential Coordinator, Gianluca Rampolla, says they are willing to partner with the national government to ensure this does not happen again.

Rampalla’s comments follows a presentation of a report conducted in Lae, Mt Hagen and Port Moresby that revealed key populations in the country such as female sex workers, transgenders and men of diverse sexuality having high rates of STI’s.

Chair of PNG Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, Lady Roslyn Morauta, says the country needs to place the next order for ART drugs now.

Sir Puka Temu says there are more funds available for medical supplies and he will be diverting these funds to purchasing more ART drugs.

The Kauntim Mi Tu study led by Dr. Angela Kelly-Hanku is said to have highlighted the HIV & AIDS epidemic in Papua New Guinea and to help shape how PNG will respond to the fight against HIV & AIDS, especially among vulnerable people in society.

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