Nearly 13,000 People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Manipur are left vulnerable with many of them running from post to pillar to manage their daily dose of life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) drugs that is out of stock since April.
This issue of unavailability of ART in centers across the state indicates the failure of State AIDS Control Society (SACS) to procure this important life-saving medicine and maintain a buffer stock (for 6 month) under the NACO (National AIDS Control Organisation).
Earlier, NACO used to supply the medicines. However, the Manipur SACS has been asked to procure the medicine (ART) from the financial year 2022-23 which has not been done till now.
This ART crisis in Manipur came to light after leaders and chief functionaries from Manipur’s pioneer NGOs working in field, Manipur Network for Positive People (MNP +), Social Awareness Service Organisation (SASO), CARE Foundation, and Kripa Society, collectively highlighted the problem faced by the people who are dependent on ART treatment.
“This present situation has drastically affected more than 13,000 ART patients in the state and compromise the adherence aspect of ART Consumers,” said MNP + president L Deepak.
Kripa Society president Hijam Dinesh said the authorities have turned a deaf ear to this issue even after repeated appraisal.
“If the authority concerned fails to heed the calls without any immediate steps or arrangements, than the life of more than 13,000 people would be at stake,” said Care Foundation secretary Jotin Thangjam.
The present situation has created immense pressure on the services providers and staff in the ART centers, mostly in JNIMS and RIMS ART Center, which is a center of excellence in the state, with high load of patients seeking help and questioning the reason for the unavailability of ART.
Manipur has a total of nearly 13 ART centers which provide ART medicine to nearly 13,000 patients.
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