Medicine Fund bankrupt, $28 million pledged to fight disease [Archives:2005/875/Health]

September 8 2005

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
The Yemeni ministry of Health has recently announced it has received a $28 million grant from the world Fund for the combat of malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. The grant is one of many others Yemen receives for fighting endemic diseases and assisting infected poor.

Nevertheless, field indicators reveal that cases of the poor infected with such diseases are lacking the simplest necessary humane assistance for the treatment of their cases. Those indicators also reveal that the fund specialized for providing without charge medicines for the endemic diseases and to supply health institutions with various types of drugs is no longer capable of providing 30% of medicines for the patients. Many patients affirm that the Fund's services have recently retreated and medicines for cancer patients have decomposed inside the stores and have been withdrawn from stores.

The medicines fund suffers from acute shortages in medicines owing to delay in conclusion of contracts concerning medicine importation. Sources at the fund say the fund's dues from the ministry have amounted to one billion riyals and that is the reason why its services have declined. Added to that, the medical establishments have refrained from dealing with the fund because of their quest for material profit.

The Yemeni council of ministers has lately given directives to cancel the medicine fund and replace it with the national program for medicine supply, but that decision has not been realized.

The medicine fund has been, in fact, a gain for the patients suffering from endemic cases, especially the poor who cannot afford buying medicines from their own limited incomes. It is thus supposed to offer support to the fund and maintain its humanitarian services for the citizens.

The essential question is that what was the reason behind the government taking of a decision to abolish services of the fund while it at the same time receives financial and treatment grants and assistance, no one knows their destiny and who benefits from the current situation.