Monday, May 24, 2010

Provision of ART drugs in Papua New Guinea will continue after August 2010

National AIDS Council chairman Sir Peter Barter says provision of ART drugs in Papua New Guinea will continue after August 2010.

He made this reassurance, particularly to people with HIV and AIDS, in response to news articles in The National on May 20 titled “Last three months before ART drug supply ceases” and “Government deadline to fund AIDS drugs looming”.

 ART in PNG has been exclusively funded by the Global Fund since 2004 and current funding will expire at the end of August 2010. 

“These new articles may cause unnecessary panic, anxiety and alarm in the public especially among the community of people living with HIV,” Sir Peter said.

“This misinformation needs to be corrected.”

He said the facts were:

  • There was stock of ART drugs in the country till December 2010.
  •  A proposal to extend funding for treatment beyond August 2010 had been submitted under a ‘continuation clause’ to the Global Fund Secretariat by the PNG country coordination mechanism. The two-year proposal document is currently under review by the secretariat in Geneva;
  • The Prime Minister had verbally committed K6 million to fund treatment and testing programmes from September to the end of 2010.  This was in response to the gaps created by the Round 9 HIV proposal which was not approved for funding; and
  • The CCM was in the process of developing a five-year HIV Global Fund Round 10 proposal. The funding proposal would cover treatment, care and support services.

“Whilst the National Aids Council is responsible for the coordination of the fight against HIV and AIDS, this is a shared responsibility involving the National Department of Health who are responsible for the treatment together with the procurement of ARTs,” Sir Peter said.

“The National Aids Secretariat is in close consultation with the Health Department and other donors, bilateral partners and stakeholders who are implementing the fight against HIV and AIDS and whilst emphasis is being given to treatment and care which is vital, the main objective is to prevent the spread through awareness, increase testing and to upscale this message throughout PNG.”


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