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Parkinson patients who are struggling with the high cost of drugs are asking the Ministry of Health to let them acquire the medicine for free.

Currently the patients buy Levodopa, Carbidopa, Credanil and Benzhexol from government and private pharmacies but it costs them up to 600 birr per month.

There has not been research conducted to determine the exact number of people with the disease so there has not been a strategy implemented.

Currently an organization called Parkinson Patients helps 350 people who are based in Addis Ababa. They provide full coverage of drug expenses to 40 people. If people live in the countryside or smaller towns there is no support for them. Keberwa Kebede, who has suffered from Parkinson’s for the last 31 years said the government should help us like it does on HIV and cancer patients.

“Most of the patients do not have that money to buy the drugs and due to this they are not taking the medicine regularly which aggravates their pain and the government should cover the cost to save them from suffering.’’

Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that progresses over time while there is no known cure or cause, doctors do know that Parkinson’s is a result of neurons in the brain not producing enough dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination. Without enough dopamine a Parkinson’s patient loses the ability to voluntarily control normal movement in the body.

Dr Muse G/ Michael, Non – Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control officer at the Ministry of Health said deep research should be done to do something about Parkinson’s diseases.

“Apart from creating awareness we are not doing that much to help the patents because we do not know the correct number of patients across the country but we will soon report their concerns to the Agency that can help them.” To address their problem and to create awareness for the public. The patients plan to hold a one kilo meter walk next Sunday in Addis Ababa.

There is no known cure for Parkinson’s currently. People suffering with Parkinson’s typically take a variety of different medications to manage their symptoms. These medications either substitute or increase the production of dopamine in the brain. Over time these medications can become less effective. This means increased dosage of existing medications and new medications being added in order for them to continue to be effective. This means a higher cost each month to manage symptoms.  Many people are struggling to afford Parkinsons medication as the disease progresses.