Local pharmaceutical companies are to benefit from a GH¢50-million facility to produce anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) in the country.
This was made known by President John Dramani Mahama in his State of the Nation Address to Parliament Tuesday.
Presently, the government relies on Danadams Pharmaceutical Limited for the supply of ARVs when there is shortage in the system.
Persons on ARV in Ghana
The number of people who were accessing ARV treatment from the country’s 166 service delivery points as of 2012 was 66,504, out of which 63,236 were adults and 3,268 children.
The decision to provide the support, the President said, constituted one of the major approaches the government was making to reduce the HIV and AIDS infection rate, as well as help save lives.
President calls for support
At a high-level meeting of the UNAIDS and the Lancet Commission in London recently, President Mahama made a strong case for African nations and other developing countries to be supported in the local manufacture of anti-retroviral drugs to ensure more affordable treatment of people living with AIDS.
The President, at that meeting, challenged UNAIDS, the Global Fund and other partners in the international community to provide tangible assistance for building the capacities of local pharmaceutical companies in African countries to take up the challenge.
He said at the meeting that instead of the costly importation of ARVs, African nations could, and must, be supported to produce those drugs at a cheaper cost at home.
He submitted that many more lives would be saved when ARVs were easily available and that would help win the fight against HIV and AIDS more easily.
He warned that failure to adopt and support such a scheme could reverse the gains already made in the global fight against HIV and AIDS, especially in affected poor nations.
Presenting the State of the Nation Address, the President said the government was committed to influencing attitudinal change among sexually active people, saying that could be done through awareness creation.
While re-affirming the government’s commitment to the health sector, especially supporting primary health care, President Mahama said the voluntary 10 per cent pay cut by himself and his appointees would be channelled into the construction of more Community-based Health Planning and Service (CHPS) compounds to help reduce maternal and infant mortality in the country.
He said the government was committed to constructing 1,600 CHPS compounds across the country by 2016 as part of its efforts at improving basic health care in rural areas and peri-urban towns