JIS News

Persons living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) should now find it easier to access antiretroviral drugs provided by the National HIV/Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Control programme.
This has been made possible through a National Health Fund/Antiretroviral (ARV) tracking system, which has been implemented by the government following a Cabinet submission and a formal Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National HIV/STI Control programme and the National Health Fund (NHF).
Minister of Health, John Junor who was addressing the official opening of an Immunology Centre at the National Public Health Laboratory on Slipe Pen Road, in Kingston, pointed out that under this system, all persons with HIV and AIDS attending any of the treatment sites as well as visiting participating private physicians, are required to obtain a Taxpayer Registration Number (TRN) and register with the NHF through the clinic or physician they visit.
The TRN number, and registration, the Minister explained, would indicate the co-payment or exemption from regular fees. “This will enable the pharmacist to have immediate information about the required co-payment or exemption and thus avoid the need for recurrent assessment,” he said.
He said the process of implementation, is being currently hampered by the slow response in receiving completed NHF cards and the difficulty in accessing TRN numbers for those without birth certificates.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted that significant progress had been made in providing antiretroviral (ARV) to adults and children within a programme to ensure adherence and compliance. Between October 2004 to August of this year, a total of 1,246 adults and 141 children were started on ARV and systems are in place to ensure that they comply and adhere to the treatment through 16 treatment sites.