A Great Mechanism in Action

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 9:14 AM

The stock of Aluvia came to a minimum this week. The Foundation has had reports of treatment hubs dispensing up to half bottle per week only. This means that clients have to go to their hubs twice a week to get a refill of their free HIV medications. This started  confusion in the HIV community especially to Project Red Ribbon.

History Repeats Itself

This has happened before in the other cocktails of the antiretroviral medicines that are more cheap than Aluvia. The first line regimen medicines are cheaper than the second line medicines which are purchased and subsidized by the Department of Health - National AIDS/ STRI Prevention and Control Program and are given to people living with HIV for free in all all HIV and AIDS Treatment Hubs all over the country.

However, with drug resistance either by non-adherence or just the virus starts to resist the medicines of the 1st line treatment, more PLHIVs move from the first line to the second line regimen. Medicines of the second line are more expensive reaching up to P3,000 per bottle. This surge will give a toll to the Department subsidizing the ARV's.

A Mechanism in Place

During the antiretroviral stockout in July of 2014, Project Red Ribbon has partnered with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation or PhilHeath to address this issue. Together with the DOH-NASPCP and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine - AIDS Research Group, PhilHealth revised their guidelines and formulated and established the Out-patient HIV and AIDS Trust Fund (OHAT) Trust Fund. This trust fund comes from the remittances of the OHAT Package which the hubs get from all their PLHIV clients who are members of PhilHealth. This trust fund has then been allowed under the new guidelines of PhilHealth to be set aside for emergency ARV purchases or any emergency needs of the hubs.

Since then, the Foundation has always been in touch with PhilHealth and has started its strong campaigns for hubs to be aggressive in promoting PhilHealth membership to their clients, aggressive filing of claims for clients and building up their OHAT Trust Fund. For 2 years after the revision, the Trust Fund of each hub started to be established in case the Department reaches its threshold wherein they can't subsidize all the ARV's of the clients especially the second line regimen medicines.

OHAT Trust Fund in Action

When the HIV community started to feel that there is a stockout of Aluvia, behind the scene the Department of Health - NASPCP has made an emergency approval from the Secretary of Health for the immediate procurement of Aluvia. As this may take some time, behind the scene, NASPCP has directed all National Capital Region (NCR) hubs to mobilize their OHAT Trust Fund to make an emergency purchase from Abbott and Zuellig for Aluvia with their recommendations. Immediately, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine - AIDS Research Group, The Philippine General Hospital - SAGIP,  the Makati Medical Center - CTTM , and The Medical City - I-REACT started mobilizing their OHAT Trust Funds to purchase Aluvia for their own clients. This emergency purchase was done immediately thus some hubs already received their supply as early as Thursday, thus arresting the stockout.

Foundation was Monitoring

Silently, Project Red Ribbon was monitoring the movement of the procurement and purchasing of hubs and the directive to purchase. Behind the scene, the Foundation monitored each hubs capacity to mobilize their funds for the welfare of their own clients. Behind the scene, we started calling hubs all over the country to check the supply of Aluvia. 

A Sigh of Relief.

The Foundation knowing that it was significant part of the mechanism of PhilHealth, called the MDG-OHAT Team and personally relayed the issue and informed about how the hubs are utilizing the OHAT- Trust Fund. Personally, the Project Red Ribbon thanked PhilHealth in behalf of all the HIV community and treatment facilities and the Department about the mechanism in place that makes the ARV Program more sustainable.

The Responsibility Continues.

The PhilHealth mechanism is in place and works. However, as part of the Care Management Program, the Foundation would like to reiterate the importance of all PLHIV's contribution to PhilHealth. We would also would like to stress out the importance of ALL hubs to file the claims of your clients so that at times like these, there is enough money in the Trust Fund. Now that this happened, we ask ALL HIV and AIDS Treatment Hubs to make it easy to mobilize your Trust Funds. Emergencies happen and we all need to be proactive now, with the current increases of cases and with the current surge of transition of clients from one line of regimen to another.


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