HIV-positive civil servants to pay 20 percent for ARVs
Wednesday 10 March 2004
 

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BURUNDI: HIV-positive civil servants to pay 20 percent for ARVs

BUJUMBURA, 23 December (PLUSNEWS) - The Burundian health minister, Dr Jean Kamana, has authorised the civil service insurance company "Mutuelle" to cover the cost of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) by 80 percent, in line with its policy on other medicines, Radio Burundi announced on Friday.

Kamana signed an ordinance adding ARVs to the list of medicines the company generally covers in response to a request from the health insurer's general manager, Francois Nkengurutse, it said.

Nkengurutse told PlusNews on Monday: "The measure is in force since Wednesday, and the list includes all antiretrovirals, as well as possible combinations of two or three antiretrovirals."

An HIV-positive civil servant in need of ARVs will therefore pay 20 percent of the price, leaving the health insurance company to pay the rest. Until now, a civil servant had to fund the total cost, despite regular contributions to the company.

According to Nkengurutse, patients will only be able to get ARVs from HIV/AIDS associations. "HIV patients will be supplied in our partner associations such as ANSS [National Association for HIV-positive and AIDS patients], SWAA Burundi [Society of Women Agaist AIDS] and others, but if drugstores start selling anti-retrovirals, we will work with them", he told IRIN.

This may not happen soon, according to government pharmacist Lievin Mizero, who said that ARVs could not be compared to other medecines. "They [ARVs] must be distributed following a known circuit to curb drugstore speculation on them", Mizero said. "If all drugstores sell them, their prices and even the quality will be out of the ministry's control."

The cheapest ARVs cost around US $30 a month, a price few Burundians can afford.

Sylvain Ndayikengurukiye, in charge of communication and public relations at the National Council for AIDS Control, told PlusNews that only 1,200 people out of 25,000 in need of ARVs had access to them.

[ENDS]

 

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