ZIMBABWE requires about $22,5 million annually to monitor the health of 750,000 HIV positive locals who are currently on anti-retroviral treatment (ART). The latest World Health Organisation (WHO) HIV treatment guidelines call for patients to receive a viral load test once a year to allow the switching of clients to favourable drugs. A viral load test measures the number of HIV particles in a blood sample. However, due to limited funds, Zimbabwe is presently providing repeat CD4 count checks which are considerably cheaper than viral load testing. Ministry health Aids and TB Unit director, Owen Mugurungi, said the government does not have the money for viral load monitoring, forcing the country to rely on CD4 counts.
People taking antiretroviral drugs have been urged to adhere to their treatment regimens so that they do not develop resistance, reversing recovery benefits and incurring huge health care costs, an Aids expert has said. “Adherence is critical in suppressing the virus and the level of drug concentration should be maintained so that treatment becomes effective,” said Owen Mugurungi, the director of Aids and TB in the Health ministry. He said HIV treatment success was hinged on sticking to specific time of taking the ARVs and on a daily basis without fail.
“If one defaults on treatment for whatever reason, the virus mutates and becomes resistant to drugs being taken. It then becomes expensive to move a patient from the first line of treatment to the second line.”
THE Global Fund has disbursed $21,8 million for the purchase of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) next year. In a statement, Global Fund country co-ordinating mechanisms secretariat co-ordinator Rangarirai Chiteure said officials from the Global Fund would be visiting the country from October 7-11 to discuss the new funding applications for malaria and TB for 2014. “The bulk of the money, $14,7 million, is meant to procure ARVs for the period January to June 2014. The disbursement will avert any possible disruptions in supply of ARVs,” he said.
The full results of a study on the effects of antiretroviral therapy in preventing new HIV infections have been published this week in the journal Science. The study, led by Professor Frank Tanser from the Africa Centre, spanned a seven year period (2004-2011), and followed nearly 17 000 people, the largest ever study completed at a population-level in a rural sub-Saharan African setting. It was conducted in the sub-district of Hlabisa in the rural Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The rolling hills of KwaZulu Natal are perhaps one of the most beautiful places on earth but it is also an area which has been particularly affected by the AIDS epidemic. KwaZulu Natal has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world––one in four people over the age of 15 are living with HIV.
Herald Health Reporter Supplies of anti-retroviral drugs are expected to return to normal in December when shipments of ordered drugs are delivered, an official in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has said. In his presentation on stock levels of drugs in the country, manager in the pharmacy department Mr Richard Sadumba said there were “stock imbalances” of drugs for adults from June.“Procurements have already been carried out and some of the shipments have already started coming in,” he said. “They will continue coming in until early next year."
DECLINING donor funding for HIV/Aids support has induced fear among people living with the disease amid reports the country already has a $39 million budget deficit for the procurement of anti-retrovirals for 2012.The development might cripple the provision of treatment services to the estimated 1,3 million people that are living with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe.
Phyllis Kachere The number of Zimbabweans on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has almost doubled to over half a million while 115 577 are on the waiting list to start the life-saving treatment. This is a massive jump from the recent 300 000 who were receiving the treatment through the Government-subsidised anti-retroviral (ARV) programme in 2010. In an interview with The Sunday Mail last week the director of the HIV, Aids and Tuberculosis Unit, Dr Owen Mgurungi, said 320 320 are women. Unfortunately due to the low uptake of ARVs amongst children, only 41 441 youngsters are benefiting from this programme while a mere 9 942 children are on the waiting list. The Clinton Health Access Initiative (formerly Clinton Foundation) has been the sole funder supporting the paediatric formulations since 2006. “The figures appear to show women as the biggest beneficiaries of anti-retroviral therapy, meaning that men have other avenues of getting the drugs. Most of them have been absorbed by the private sector through their medical aid facilities,” said Dr Mgurungi.
Farirai Machivenyika recently in KADOMA More than 350 000 people living with HIV and Aids might fail to access anti-retroviral drugs as Zimbabwe could face a US$227 million deficit by 2018, it has been revealed. In an interview at the Zimbabwe Parliamentarians against HIV workshop in Kadoma at the weekend, National Aids Council director for finance Mr Albert Manenji said Zimbabwe should come up with alternative funding to deal with the anticipated deficit caused by the unavailabilty of donors. “The financial gap for HIV is actually quite huge. This gap is progressing and is expected to get wider. As of 2012, the gap will be US$10 million and by 2018 it will be US$227 million and about 358 000 people who will need treatment will not be able to afford it. “The gap would be compounded by the withdrawal of Global Fund that has been funding 35 percent of our people on ARVs; they have not committed themselves beyond 2014,” he said.