If drugs for life prolonging for AIDS victims, what next?
Panic has triggered AIDS victims
who use anti-retroviral drugs for life prolonging which reduces pains for those
suffering from a deadly disease in some parts of the country following the
incurring shortages of the drugs in stock. In view of this the government is trying
all it can in order to normalize the situation by increasing high supply of
these drugs in shortage areas. Patients attending in various special HIV
clinics in Geita region face serious shortage of Opportunistic Infections (OIs)
drugs, whose scarcity compromises the battle against the killer disease. A
survey made by a group of reporters from various media agencies last week noted
with concern unavailability of the drugs that are crucial to patients suffering
from Opportunistic Infections that are usually life-threatening if not timely
managed with proper medication. Different sources in Chato, Katoro and Bukombe
health facilities narrated the shortage of Fluconazole Tabs and Fluconazole IV
for treating fungal infections as well as Acyclovior Tabs and Creams for
treating Helpes Zoster commonly attacking patients with HIV. A Clinical Officer
in charge of Care and Treatment Clinic (CTC) at the Katoro Health Centre in
Geita District Council, Mr Augustino Mnyeti, said the clinic normally received
new patients ranging from 15 to 20 a week, three to five of them with deadly
opportunistic infections. “It is true that we are missing these drugs which are
very effective to patients with HIV who are attacked by opportunistic
infections. However, those drugs can be found in private pharmacies where they
are very expensive; being sold at 5000/- per pact of three tabs,” he said.
Katoro is one of the hotspots areas of Bukombe District in Geita Region with
small and medium scale mining activities attracting many youth and women groups
who work on a daily basis. Its CTC clinic is highly congested, in the wake of
the Non Governmental Organisation- Ariel Glaser Pediatric AIDS Healthcare
Initiative (AGPAHI), which is partnering with the government to provide care
and treatment to patients living with HIV in Geita Region. According to Mr
Mnyeti, the last order of the crucial OI drugs was placed in June 2017, with
the Medical Stores Department (MSD) reporting it had run out of stock. The
scarcity of OI drugs was also confirmed by the Acting Bukombe District Medical
Officer (DMO), Dr Irene Mukerebe, and the DMO for Chato District, Dr Athanas
Ngambakubi, both saying an immediate intervention was crucial to ensure their
availability and supply. Dr Mukerebe warned against dispensing other drugs in
place of most recommended drugs in treating OIs which results in slow recovery
of the patients, thereby making the management process complicated even if the
patient was put on Anti Retro-Viral Therapy (ARV). “While we have good supply
of all other drugs, including ARVs, we face regular shortage of opportunistic
infections drugs, given our limited budget to facilitate purchases from other
sources, clinically it is recommended that they be stocked all the time for
proper management,” she said. However, the authorities in Geita Region
commended AGPAHI for helping in scaling up intervention in fighting the
pandemic especially through capacity building programmes, human resources
supports, quality data improvement, rehabilitation of CTC clinics and
pharmacies, and many others. But according to Dr Ngambakubi, over 90 per cent
of HIV interventions in Chato District were sponsored by AGPAHI, which calls
for more efforts to make sure the government took over effectively when donor
funding was reduced or ceased altogether in future.
I won the second prize in policy category of the African Information society Initiative ( AISI) awards 2004 which is annually organized by the United Nations- Economic Commission for Africa ( UNECA) based in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. On the first photo above standing with other awardees after the Ceremony at the National Settlers monument in Grahamstown, South Africa.This was during the 8th Highway Africa Conference.The second photo shows the cross section of Jounalists from different African countries who attended the ceremony.
I also won the AISI-GKP/SDC Media Award special reporting on WSIS process and Africa, and conferred with the award in Tunis, Tunisia during WSIS summit in 2005. See the photo above.
Winner on the Media Competition on writing about " Stigma denial and Discrimination" associated with HIV/AIDS. This was organized by theAssociation of Journalists Against Aids in Tanzania ( AJAAT). On the Photo above President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania, ( then the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation) was the guest of honour during the award giving ceremony.This was at Maelezo auditorium in Dar-es-Salaam September 2005.
Winner on the Media Competition on writing about "Vulnerable Children" associated with HIV/AIDS This was organized by the Association of Journalists Against Aids in Tanzania ( AJAAT)
Winner of the National ICT Media Award organized By SWOPNET in the Country. On the photo above Morogoro Regional Commissioner, Brigadier General ( Rt) Saidi Kalembo was the guest of honour during the award giving ceremony which was held at New Sarvoy Hotel in morogoro town.I was awarded a Mobile phone and a tape-recorder.
I participated in the Media Competition in writing about VCT (Voluntary Counseling and Testing) in Tanzania which was held between July 15th and October 30th 2008 whereby I emerged among the top five winners. The competition was under the program known as “Tanzania bila Ukwimwi inawezekana” which literally means, Tanzania without AIDS disease transmission is possible”. This is a program which was organizedby the Association of Journalists Against AIDS in Tanzania (AJAAT) under TACAIDS funding. In the photo, I am being presented with a certificate of participation by the Chairman of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS (TACAIDS) Dr. Fatma Mrisho in a colorful ceremony which was held on 22nd December 2008 at Tanzania Information Centre in Dar es Salaam.
I was among the top 17 best selected students who excelled in their final examinations of the 2010/2011 academic year and awarded with the Vice-Chancellor’s prize. I scored 4.5 GPA (First Class) in BA in Journalism. Above I am being given a certificate by the Chairman of the Open University of Tanzania Board of Senate. Standing at the centre facing camera is the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tolly Mbwette. Extreme left partly hidden is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Elifas Bisanda. This occasion took place during the convocation meeting, a day before the graduation day at the prospective permanent headquarter of the Open University of Tanzania which is currently under construction at Bungo-Kibaha in Coast region 40 kilometers away west of Dar es Salaam city.