JANE Namusoke tested positive for HIV in 2004 and was put on
antiretroviral (ARV) treatment. Namusoke is worried because she
recently learnt the Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) in
Masindi, where she has been getting treatment, might close soon.
"Two months ago we were told the clinic had run out of drugs.
Nowadays we get drugs for only two weeks. Sometimes we are told
to wait a little longer," Namusoke says.
Established in 2003 to care for people living with HIV/AIDS and
other chronic illnesses, the clinic now caters for 3194 patients.
Of these, 135 are children.
Dr. Chris Jary, the outgoing medical officer in charge of the
clinic, says the demand for ARVs is high yet they are not getting
Mildmay Uganda, which provides similar treatment, recently
announced closure. JCRC and Mildmay are the two major care
providers for persons living with HIV in the country.
Dr. Zainab Akol, the HIV/AIDS control programme manager at the
health ministry, attributes the drug shortages to an increase in
the number of patients. "We now have over 100,000 yet the donors
have been reluctant to release more funding," she says.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, one of
the major funders of HIV programmes, suspended funding in 2005
citing mismanagement of funds.
Dr. Jay says the National Medical Store will take over the
responsibility of organising and supplying drugs when JCRC pulls