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The lack of access to antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) has forced HIV/AIDS patients in Ntoroko district, to turn to traditional herbalists for treatment.
The only health centre authorized to distribute drugs in the district, is Karugutu Health Centre III.
However, some patients from the sub counties of Rwebisengo, Kanara and Rwangara, can not afford treatment from the health center, because it is far away from their homes.
As a result, the drugs are wasting away at the store of the health centre, as traditional herbalists increase their presence in the three sub counties.
When Uganda Radio Network visited Karugutu Health Centre, there were over 50 sealed boxes of antiretroviral drugs in the store.
Dr. Michael Masereka, the in-charge of Karugutu Health Centre, says that for the past two months, the number of patients supposed to get the treatment has reduced from 450 to 100 patients.
Agnes Kemigisa, a resident of Nombe trading centre village in Kanara Sub County, says she resorted to traditional herbalists, because she can not afford transport to the health centre for treatment.
Kemigisa says that she has been spending more than 10,000 shillings, whenever she goes to the health centre. She also says that she would rather use cheap herbal medicine, rather than travel long distance for treatment.
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Herbert Irumba, a resident of Karambi A village says that the health centre benefits only people of Karugutu sub county because it is near their homes.
Irumba wants the district health department to set up outreach centres where patients can receive the drugs.
However Dr.Henry Baluku, the district health officer Ntoroko, says that the department lacks resources to pay community health workers who will distribute and prescribe the drugs to the patients.
Baluku says that although the patients stay far away from the health centre, he blames them for accepting to be duped by the traditional herbalists who claim that they can treat HIV/Aids.