Patients with HIV/AIDS in Belize have one less thing to worry about, since the government funds their anti-retroviral medication. This is an issue we asked for clarity on from Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero. According to him, the government spends at least a million dollars per year on these medications so that the patients can get them free of cost.
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “And it’s I mean, they can’t get any more money from a subvention for us because it’s not structured like that. It could be more, when you have to do emergency procurement but that’s only antiretrovirals but we also provide other things, antibiotics and antifungals and those are usually under the government’s purse.”
Reporter: And so the person who has HIV would not once he or she accesses that on antiretroviral they are required to pay nothing at all?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “Nothing and that is for life.”
Reporter: For the rest of their life?
Dr.Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services: “The medication yes, every single day for the rest of their life. So government policy, I think started back in 2003, initially we had funding from other partner agencies, but I think that as of 2008 that is completely government funded. The adherence rate in some communities is 30%. that’s a patient’s responsibility there is only so much we are going to be able to do.”