The Centre for Health Human Rights and Development (Cehurd) has dragged government and the National Medical Stores (NMS) to the High court for allegedly failing to provide Septrin drugs to people living with HIV/Aids in public health facilities for the last eight months.
Septrin is an essential anti-biotic drug in the treatment of HIV /Aids. HIV/Aids patients Grace Akite and Lawrence Kivumbi, claim that failure by the government and NMS to supply Septrin in public health facilities in Uganda is a violation of their right to health and dignity.
Kivumbi, a male champion for people living with HIV/Aids from Kiboga district said; ‘there has been a stockout of Septrin at Lwamata health centre III since March to date.
“My viral load has increased since stockouts for Septrin started. I am psychologically tortured by the fear of stockouts of this kind. In my capacity as a male champion for drug adherence, I have witnessed patients die and lose hope in coming to the facility since there are no drugs to sustain their lives,” he said.
“In April 2018 we buried one of our peers who couldn’t afford to buy Septrin in village at Shs 400 on a daily basis to supplement the ARVs,” Kivumbi added.
He said, failure to provide Septrin in hospitals threatens the right to life and breaches government’s core obligation to provide essential drugs contrary to articles 8A, 20, 22, 24 and 45 of the 1995 Uganda Constitution.
“As applicants, we demand that the court should order the government to provide uninterrupted supply of Septrin to all public health facilities immediately to avoid people dying,” Kivumbi said.
Kenneth Mwehonge, the coordinator at Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS- Uganda) said, the issue of stockout of medicines in Uganda is chronic and persistent in the country, and they have now appealed to ministry of Health and the NMS to intervene to prevent increasing number of Ugandans who lose their lives due to lack of Septrin.
“The Ugandan government has a minimum core obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure the satisfaction of essential primary health care which includes provision of Septrin to persons living with HIV/Aids. Failure to do this, it means violations of fundamental human rights and our courts can hold the agencies responsible to account for. It is our sincere hope that supply of Septrin will be restored to prevent these violations,” Primah Kwagala, the manager for strategic litigation at Cehurd said.