ARK dismayed with shortage of ARV drugs in Dimapur

Dimapur, January 23 (MExN): Access to Rights and Knowledge (ARK) foundation has expressed dismay over the prevailing repeated shortage and complete stock out of crucial ARV drugs in the ART center, Dimapur Civil hospital.

Ketho Angami, ARK President in a press release stated that as a result of ongoing imbroglio between the state nodal implementing agency (NSACS) and CMSS which is being contracted by NACO for the procurement and supply of the drugs, the ART center has on numerous occasions resulted in shortage and stock out of the ARV drugs meant for the PLHIV community to help them attain viral load suppression as per the 90-90-90 UNAIDS target.

According to the latest status of the drug in question, Atazanavir and Ritonavir faced a complete stock out during the month of October last which resulted in an outburst among the PLHIV community resulting in flash mob protest, following which the drug was replenished though in insufficient quantity.

This shortage continued till mid January 2019 whereby the PLHIV communities on this regimen were always issued doses for few days only, instead of the expected duration of one month’s dosage. This led to untold hardships of making numerous visits to the center for their dose collection.

Even during this trying period, there was no fruition regarding the plight of the PLHIV community, resulting in “complete stock out” of the drug on January 18 and the PLHIV community were made to switch to another substitute drug called Lopinavir, the release said.

ARK further claimed that few of them who were able to afford the cost of the drug were buying it at a cost of Rs 2300 per month, while the majority of those who are not financially sound were bearing the crunch of the stock outs, only hoping that the matter be addressed by NSACS at the earliest time.

Such past incidents of different ARV drug stock outs has also led to filing of petition in the Gauhati High Court kohima Bench in 2018, and the proceedings of the case is ongoing.

Meanwhile, ARK foundation has questioned the authority of NSACS and the state Government about the delay in appointing ombudsman/s as per the HIV/AIDS act 2017.