KIGALI - The Ministry of Health has finally confirmed the imminent arrival of a new AIDS drug from a Canadian company, Apotex. Health officials said Thursday that the first batch of such low-cost drug will be in the country late September this year.
Officials disclosed this during a press conference held at Treatment and Research Aids Centre (TRAC) head office, Kigali.
They assured that the costs of drug would covered by the Global Fund International. Earlier this week the Minister of Health, Jean-Damascène Ntawukuriryayo had denied knowing anything about the purchase.
Health officials also revealed that another shipment of drugs manufactured by an Indian country, Aurobindo, will arrive next month.
The Aurobindo drug costs will be settled by the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the director general of Camerwa, Zephyr Mutanguha said.
11 other types of AIDS drug needed for next two years- which will cost over $6 million- will also be jointly covered by both donor partners.
“Our (goal is to ensure a constant supply of low-cost AIDS drugs to those in need and increase the number of potential suppliers through bidding procedures” said Mutanguha. November 2007 statistics from TRAC Net’s portal recorded 52,366 adult AIDS patients on ARVs in the whole country.
Dr. Anita Asimwe, the director of the AIDS Unit in TRAC Plus said that the national estimated number supposed to be on ARVs stands at 61,000 patients.
“But people’s fearfulness to be tested HIV/Aids positive and negligence to constantly take ARVs has hindered our effort to treat that number” Asimwe said.
She added that ARVs are free to all patients with mutual health insurance and those without only pay annual treatment and care fee of Frw10,000 for whole family.