MSF says rural poor lack access to AIDS drugs
Wednesday 2 June 2004
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ZAMBIA: MSF says rural poor lack access to AIDS drugs

JOHANNESBURG, 28 January (PLUSNEWS) - The international medical NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) on Wednesday began supplying free antiretroviral drug treatment to HIV-positive people in Zambia's northeastern Nchelenge district.

MSF said a massive scaling up of treatment programmes was imperative in rural areas, where communities were disintegrating because of HIV/AIDS.

The group has been providing care to HIV-positive people in Nchelenge since 2002, but said some two-thirds of the 350 people currently in the programme were in urgent need of antiretroviral treatment.

Joke van Peteghem, the MSF head of mission in Zambia said in a statement: "By proving anti-AIDS treatment is possible in a rural poor society, we hope to trigger other actors, such as the UN, NGOs, donor governments and the Zambian government, to step up their efforts in this regard."

The World Health Organisation (WHO) anticipates the infection rate in the Zambian countryside could peak at about 22 percent in 2004.

"It's a big shame to see that most of the HIV/AIDS efforts of the Zambian government focus on urban areas, while hundreds of thousands of HIV/AIDS patients in the countryside still have no access to the lifesaving drugs," Peteghem commented.

MSF said it hoped to show there were no excuses for the lack of treatment for Zambians living with HIV/AIDS in rural areas by having 400 patients on treatment by the end of 2005.

[ENDS]

Recent ZAMBIA Reports

More than half children under five are stunted, 24/May/04
Traditional healers called in to treat HIV/AIDS, 19/May/04
New approach to HIV/AIDS treatment needed, 11/May/04
Pregnant adolescent refugees go back to school, 22/Apr/04
Study shows urgent need for information campaigns, 15/Mar/04

Links

The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
AEGIS
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

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