IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 185, 11 June 2004
Saturday 21 August 2004
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 185, 11 June 2004


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


NEWS:

ZIMBABWE: Local production of AIDS drugs begins
AFRICA: First ladies launch organisation to fight HIV/AIDS
AFRICA: Refugees show positive response to AIDS education
NIGERIA: US pledges $58 million to combat HIV/AIDS this year
SOUTH AFRICA: Cremation the only option as cemetries fill
AFRICA: G8 leaders challenged to keep promise on global HIV/AIDS


LINKS:

1. AIDS Reality.org
2. Children in Distress (CINDI)
3. The Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA)
4. UN web-based media campaign - "Conversations with UNFPA..."

CONFERENCES/ EVENTS/ RESEARCH/ RESOURCES:

JOB OPPORTUNITIES:



ZIMBABWE: Local production of AIDS drugs begins

Access to anti-AIDS drugs is improving in Zimbabwe, due to recent initiatives to manufacture antiretroviral (ARV) medicines locally and roll out the therapy.

In a bid to significantly reduce the cost of the medication for people living with HIV/AIDS, a Zimbabwean pharmaceutical company has started manufacturing generic antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

Tobias Dzangare, chief executive of the local drug manufacturer, Varichem, said his company would produce nine types of generic ARVs.

The generic drugs will cut the cost of ARVs, which are imported mainly from India. A monthly cocktail of ARVs costs Zim $600,000 (US $155) currently. With the manufacture of local generics, the price is expected to drop to between Zim $140,000 (US $27) and Zim $160,000 (US $30) a month.

More details



AFRICA: First ladies launch organisation to fight HIV/AIDS

The wives of eight African heads of state have formed a body to be known as the Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA), which, they said, would coordinate their efforts to combat the spread of the disease.

The organisation, launched on Tuesday in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, would also encourage women to play a more active role in the promotion of peace and security and in activities designed to attain sustainable food security on the continent, they said.

The queen of Swaziland and first ladies of Burundi, Comoros, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe had accompanied their husbands to a summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional bloc aimed at promoting integration through trade and investment.

They said OAFLA would have annual round-table conferences and its members would be torchbearers in efforts to improve the lives of African women, children and communities in general, and also noted that women were most vulnerable to the ravages of AIDS and poverty.

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AFRICA: Refugees show positive response to AIDS education

Refugees generally have a significantly lower HIV infection rate than their host communities, according to experts from the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.

A study conducted among pregnant women in more than 20 African refugee camps indicated that in five of the seven countries surveyed, refugees had a significantly lower HIV infection rate than the surrounding populations. In the other two, the infection rates were about equal.

In Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya, home to about 80,000 mainly Sudanese refugees, the infection rate in 2002 was five percent, compared to 18 percent for the surrounding area of Lodwar.

UNHCR said the difference in the refugee HIV infection rates compared to the surrounding population was, in part, due to aggressive education and sensitising.

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NIGERIA: US pledges $58 million to combat HIV/AIDS this year

Nigeria will receive US $58 million in US aid this year for programmes aimed at treating HIV/AIDS and curbing the spread of the pandemic, half of which will be channelled through faith-based organisations, a senior US official has announced.

Randall Tobias, Global Coordinator of the US Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, made the statement on Friday during a visit to Nigeria.

He said the funds would be used to build special facilities, train health workers and provide preventive counselling as well as treat those infected by HIV virus.

"This year we expect that the United States contribution to the HIV/AIDS efforts in Nigeria will be about $58 million, and there will be certainly more money coming in the years ahead," Tobias said.

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SOUTH AFRICA: Cremation the only option as cemetries fill

Due to the increasing numbers of AIDS-related deaths, burial space in municipal cemeteries in the South African port city of Durban has become hard to find.

Only two of the 53 cemeteries in Durban & District, which have to cover a population of 3.5 million, have space for fresh graves, according to Thembinkosi Ngcobo, Head of Parks and Cemeteries in the city.

If the amount of people dying every month remains unchanged, space will be exhausted within two years, Ngcobo said. If there is an increase in the mortality rate, as AIDS analysts predict, the two remaining graveyards in South Africa's third largest city will be full much earlier.

The two cemeteries with vacant gravesites, Red Hill and Dudley Street, are the two 'youngest' graveyards in Durban, established only eight years ago. Initially, they were estimated to have a lifespan of 15 years, Ngcobo said, but now, with more and more people dying from AIDS, both cemeteries will be filled to capacity after only 10 years. The rest of Durban's burial grounds do not have a single vacant gravesite available.

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AFRICA: G8 leaders challenged to keep promise on global HIV/AIDS

A network of international NGOs has urged governments at the current "Group of Eight" (G8) summit in Georgia, US, to honour commitments made during the signing of the UN global AIDS compact three years ago.

In a call to action, to be presented at the gathering, the World AIDS Campaign (WAC), will ask G8 leaders to provide the practical, financial and political support necessary to increase prevention, care and treatment to tackle the global HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"It's easy to make promises, but it's much harder to keep them," the director of the WAC, Marcel van Soest, said in a statement.

"In 2003, the G8 governments promised to fulfil their shared obligations to deliver on the commitments they agreed to in the UN Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS in 2001. Yet in 2004, AIDS is not even on the G8 agenda. If anything, we are moving backwards."

More details



LINKS:

1. AIDS Reality.org

Is a new web-based campaign that plans to hold G8 leaders accountable for the promises they made in the past, and those they will make this week as they meet on Sea Island, Georgia in the US. Based on "reality TV," www.AIDSreality.org allows visitors to inspect the real world of AIDS, compare the records of G8 leaders and vote the worst ones off Sea Island.

Millions of people around the world tune in to reality TV each week, voting a previously unknown star into a jungle or out of a house. This campaign engages them one of the most pressing problems in the real world: AIDS. Vote those world leaders with the worst records off the Island.

2. Children in Distress (CINDI)

Home of this non-profit organisation in the Midlands area of South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province, Children in Distress (CINDI) is is a consortium of over 70 NGOs, government departments and individuals that network in the interests of children affected by HIV and AIDS. Check out the highlights and children's space.

3. The Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance

The Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health (SAHARA) Research Programme conducts policy-relevant research in South and Southern Africa. Its extensive regional network makes it possible to mobilise an alliance of key stakeholders, policy-makers, programme planners, researchers, NGOs and donors to tackle HIV/AIDS, using evidence arising from collaborative research. Its links with the Medical Research Council (MRC) of South Africa and Rhodes University's Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE), as well as international partners, such as the French ANRS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) office in Pretoria, and some universities in the USA have helped SAHA to undertake research studies of various sizes at national and regional level.

SAHARA has also formed a partnership with the Health Sector Co-ordinating Unit (HSCU) of SADC to develop a monitoring and evaluation tool for HIV/AIDS in the SADC region and help to establish a flexible network of partners. This network is committed to tackling HIV/AIDS by using the same research methods to allow the generation of knowledge, which can be implemented immediately. The vehicle to facilitate implementation is the Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS Research Alliance (SAHARA), which involves jointly applying and securing funding for multi-country and multi-site studies.

4. UN web-based media campaign - "Conversations with UNFPA..."

This campaign, by the UN Regional Inter Agency Co-ordination Support Office (RIASCO) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) contains a series of interviews highlighting the plight of southern African women and youth with regards to HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence.

The UNFPA/RIASCO campaign aims to contribute to the incorporation of culture in implementation of programming by acting as a platform for a myriad of voices to explore the links between gender-based violence, culture and HIV/AIDS.

"Conversations with UNFPA..." can be accessed on: www.sahims.net

A new interview will be added to the site every two weeks.



[ENDS]


Recent AFRICA Reports
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 195, 20 August 2004, 20/Aug/04
HIV-positive women speak out, 17/Aug/04
Sexual Offences bill raises many concerns, 13/Aug/04
IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 194, 13 August 2004, 13/Aug/04
Removal of generic drugs from WHO list a wake-up call, 6/Aug/04
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PlusNews is produced under the banner of RHAIN, the Southern African Regional HIV/AIDS Information Network. RHAIN's members currently include:

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