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Sant'Egidio ARV programme records success
Tuesday 18 January 2005
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MOZAMBIQUE: Sant'Egidio ARV programme records success

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

MAPUTO, 24 September (PLUSNEWS) - Mozambique plans to have 8,000 people living with AIDS on free triple-therapy antiretroviral (ARV) treatment through its public health system by the end of the year.

Although this is only a small proportion of the estimated 200,000 people in need of treatment, it is seen as a breakthrough for one of the world's poorest countries, where in the past ARVs were regarded as a luxury for Western countries only.

One of the pioneers of ARV treatment in Mozambique was the Vatican-linked Sant'Egidio community, which launched a pilot project in 2001. It now has 2,230 people on triple-therapy through its DREAM (Drug Resource Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition) programme.

Dr Leonardo Palombi, who designed the Sant'Egidio project, visited Mozambique this week to assess progress. He told PlusNews that he was encouraged by the "fantastic" developments he had witnessed, after a shaky start to the programme.

He said the Sant'Egidio had encountered resistance, especially from the international community in Mozambique, when they first suggested a treatment programme in 1999. "We met with a lot of closed doors, suspicion and accusations. They said: 'you're trying to use African people as guinea pigs'."

Sant'Egidio began opening centres in the southern city of Matola. "We thought starting this effort would help up overcome all the obstacles. We started with 50 people who were in a desperate situation - they had nothing to lose. We soon observed real resurrections."

There are now at least 11 treatment centres spread across the country, augmented by three laboratories to test for viral load and CD4 counts, operating in referral hospitals in the northern city of Nampula, the central port city of Beira, and the capital, Maputo.

There has, however, been reported criticism from the government that the DREAM programme is too independent of the national effort.

"At the beginning we were completely outside the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS. The entire plan was prevention-oriented. But now we're co-operating quite well," Palombi said.


Recent MOZAMBIQUE Reports
People living with AIDS overlooked in response ,  17/Dec/04
Artists create AIDS awareness,  10/Nov/04
Youth health targeted,  28/Oct/04
Securing an AIDS-free future,  26/Oct/04
Religious leaders tackle AIDS,  11/Oct/04
Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria
Mothers and HIV/AIDS

PlusNews does not take responsibility for info in links supplied.

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