UN Wades Into Narva HIV Meds Disagreement ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

High-ranking United Nations official Luiz Loures has sent a letter to Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas on behalf of the UNAIDS program supporting the right of a foundation in Narva to provide HIV medication, while the ministry maintains that the foundation lacks the necessary qualifications to do so.

The ministry has so far refused to grant the Linda HIV Foundation the right to hand out medication, even though it is registered as a health service provider, Eesti Päevaleht reported today.

According to the newspaper, the assistant secretary-general of the UN and deputy executive director of the UNAIDS program expressed regret over the situation and said the clinic's work fits the UN's plan to decentralize treatment centers so that samples are taken and clinical services are provided in the same location.

Rõivas told uudised.err.ee that Linda HIV does not meet the standards for complex and integrated treatment, which is why the ministry cannot allocate the right to dispense medication.

"The Ministry of Social Affairs replied to Dr. Lourdes's letter more than a month and a half ago and we have a good co-operation with UNAIDS," the minister said.

The foundation said that, with the help of the nonprofit network AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it has invested nearly 200,000 euros into setting up the clinic. It maintains the investments were made with the view to dispense medicine, following guidelines set up by the Ministry of Social Affairs, which has now backtracked.

Rõivas said that as of now, patients have access to medication through the Ida-Viru and Narva hospitals, but once quality requirements are met, the circle of treatment providers can be broadened.