CITY, 23 May 2005 --- The United Nations Children’s
Fund (UNICEF) will procure US$186,000 worth of antiretroviral
medicines (ARVs) for the Department of Health this year.
This is the first
procurement of ARVs by DOH after Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit
signed a Memorandum of Agreement with UNICEF that covers five
years. The agreement will enable the Philippine government
to obtain ARVs at much lower prices than currently available
in the market.
living with AIDS has the right to have access to proper treatment
and care,” Colin Davis, Officer-in-Charge of UNICEF
Philippines, said. “But the high cost of ARVs in the
country limits access to the very few who can afford it.”
The average cost
of ARVs in the Philippines for one person living with acquired
immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is about $550 per month.
Due to the high
cost, the government was previously unable to provide ARVs
to persons living with AIDS. To date, 681 AIDS cases have
been recorded in the country, of whom 415 are still living.
ARVs have been
shown to significantly reduce the number of illnesses and
deaths due to AIDS.
The agreement enables
DOH to procure ARVs through UNICEF’s global procurement
service, ensuring access to high-quality medicines at the
lowest prices in the world market. DOH will pay for the medicines
in Philippine pesos.
Through the Sixth
Country Programme for Children (CPC 6) covering 2005 until
2009, UNICEF has committed up to $3 million for the prevention
and treatment of HIV/AIDS, particularly among children, young
people, and women.
HIV/AIDS project provides information, skills and services
for young people to be able to protect themselves from HIV
infections, with special focus on young people most vulnerable
and at risk. It also deals with the emerging issue of care,
support and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS. The
project is being implemented by national government agencies,
local government units, NGOs and other partners in the country.
This year alone,
UNICEF and other United Nations agencies in the Philippines
is providing $1.3 million to support the Philippine national
response to HIV/AIDS. This is part of an integrated programme
of the UN aimed to help the country achieve the Millennium
Development Goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS
UN-supported strategies include: reducing the vulnerabilities
and risks of vulnerable populations; improving the quality
of care, support and treatment programmes for people living
with HIV and AIDS; reducing HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination;
and, improving the management systems of HIV/AIDS programmes.
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For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
UNICEF Manila, 901 0177 or 0917 866 4969, email@example.com
UNICEF Manila, 901 0173 or 0917 858 9447, firstname.lastname@example.org