IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 228, 8 April 2005
Sunday 4 September 2005
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IRIN PlusNews Weekly Issue 228, 8 April 2005


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


NEWS:

CONGO: Government regulates ARV supply
GHANA: Local employers start to care for their HIV-positive staff
LESOTHO: The need for treatment could jeopardise the quality of care
LESOTHO: Abused child domestic workers even more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS
SENEGAL: AIDS takes hold in pilgrim town of Touba
SOUTH AFRICA: Shared breastfeeding and poor medical hygiene fuels HIV/AIDS
SOUTH AFRICA: Initiative to alleviate effect of AIDS education
SWAZILAND: HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women rises
SWAZILAND: Call for regional women's organisation to combat HIV/AIDS
SWAZILAND: Health workers score with TB campaign
ZIMBABWE: Govt plans to replace DOTS
ZIMBABWE: Global Fund grant to come through, finally

LINKS:

1. HIV pharmacogenomics website launched

CONFERENCES/ EVENTS/ RESEARCH/ RESOURCES:

JOB OPPORTUNITIES:



CONGO: Government regulates ARV supply

The Republic of Congo (ROC) has conducted an audit of all pharmaceutical laboratories in the country in a bid to resolve a shortage of antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) for HIV-positive patients, the government has announced.

In a statement issued on Friday at the end of the first steering committee meeting of the National Council for the Fight Against AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, or CNLS, the government said it "started the payment of all the invoices concerning the supply of the ARVs and made provisions which are essential so that the situation is never repeated".

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GHANA: Local employers start to care for their HIV-positive staff

The world fell apart for Ghanaian primary school teacher Haruna Ibn Hassan three years ago when his wife died of AIDS and he found that he too had contracted the disease.

But at least Hassan kept his job and his sympathetic headmaster reassigned him to administrative tasks that allowed him to take more time off to receive treatment.

At the time Hassan discovered that he was infected with the HI virus, his employer, the Ghana Education Service had yet to develop a clear policy for dealing with AIDS in the workplace.

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LESOTHO: The need for treatment could jeopardise the quality of care

A storm is quietly brewing in Lesotho after international media reports raised concerns that private doctors were dispensing anti-AIDS drugs without specialised training - putting the lives of many HIV-positive people at risk.

Recent news reports have claimed that some doctors were prescribing only part of the regimen, or failing to monitor patients adequately for adherence, resistance and side effects, and sometimes not providing enough counselling.

While government officials in the tiny kingdom have dismissed the reports as anecdotal, the articles have served as a wake-up call for developing countries to turn their attention to the quality of AIDS care being delivered in the private sector.

Beneath the hype surrounding these reports, a quiet revolution has been taking place. More and more Basotho living with HIV/AIDS are turning their backs on state facilities, preferring the relative anonymity of private healthcare practitioners.

More details



LESOTHO: Abused child domestic workers even more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS

The exploitation of children employed as domestic workers in the tiny kingdom of Lesotho has, until now, been shrouded in secrecy. But as the kingdom grapples with high HIV/AIDS figures and growing levels of poverty, a new report is forcing people to confront the risk of child abuse, when employing young domestic workers.

According to the study, commissioned by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sports and Recreation (MOGYSR), child domestic workers were poorly paid, often worked in isolated and difficult living conditions, and vulnerable to sexual abuse.

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SENEGAL: AIDS takes hold in pilgrim town of Touba

Senegal has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in Africa, but the central town of Touba, a Muslim shrine where over one million people gathered last week, is a hotspot where prevalence rates have shot well above the national average.

"We don't know exactly what the HIV prevalence rate is in Touba, but it is considerably higher than the national average of 1.5 percent," Doctor Mamadou Dieng, who works in a health centre in Touba, told PlusNews.

"Right now, we're testing some 50 people a month and at least 10 of them are HIV-positive," he said.

More details



SOUTH AFRICA: Shared breastfeeding and poor medical hygiene fuels HIV/AIDS

New research by South Africa's Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) suggests that negligent breastfeeding at public hospitals in the Free State province is placing infants at risk of HIV infection.

Besides the obvious route of mother-to-child transmission, shared breastfeeding emerged as the single most important factor associated with child HIV infection in the study commissioned by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and released at the current Seventh International AIDS Impact Conference in Cape Town.

"A major problem was that bottles were labelled by cot numbers - rather than by the name of the baby - and rarely checked, allowing milk to be fed to the wrong baby if the cot was moved. This suggests that even if children are born free of HIV, they are likely to contract the virus through breastfeeding," Dr Olive Shisana, executive director of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health at the HSRC, told PlusNews.

More details



SOUTH AFRICA: Initiative to alleviate effect of AIDS education

A group of eight South African and international NGOs are collaborating on a new programme to tackle the impact of HIV/AIDS on the education sector, after recent research showed that the pandemic was claiming the lives of 11 teachers daily.

The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) surveyed a nationally representative sample of 17,088 teachers at 1,700 schools and found that most of the affected teachers were aged between 25 and 44.

More details



SWAZILAND: HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women rises

Swaziland's government said it would act urgently to reverse the rising HIV prevalence rate among pregnant women, currently at 42.6 percent according to the latest sentinel survey.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare highlighted the prevalence rate among pregnant women, up from 38.6 percent in 2002, as a key area of concern.

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SWAZILAND: Call for regional women's organisation to combat HIV/AIDS

Former South African first lady Graca Machel has called on women in southern Africa to tackle traditional practices that may contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Addressing delegates from the region at a gender equality conference in Ezulwini, just outside Swaziland's capital, Mbabane, Machel highlighted the impact of the virus on women.
"We are the ones who are most affected by AIDS: of the people infected with HIV, 58 percent are women; of the people dying of AIDS, 58 percent are women - it is time to say, 'enough!'"

More details



SWAZILAND: Health workers score with TB campaign

A tuberculosis (TB) treatment programme recently introduced in Swaziland is credited with lowering the number of TB patients, at a time when other African nations face a rising number of cases.

Dumsile Nxumalo, the first Swazi to participate in the Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) TB programme, believes she is alive today because of the initiative.

"My mother still had hope when I had given up, which is what I ask all families to do. Do not give up on your family members who have TB, because it makes them believe that there is nothing left for them anymore," Nxumalo testified this week at a health workers conference on DOTS.

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ZIMBABWE: Govt plans to replace DOTS

Zimbabwe plans to introduce a new combination of drugs to treat tuberculosis (TB) early next year, an official in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare told PlusNews.

Owen Mugurungi, a senior officer with the ministry's HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis programme, told IRIN that the Fixed Combination Dose (FDS) would replace the existing Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) strategy.

"The new dose will combine a number of the tablets that patients are currently taking separately, to produce one powerful combination that will be tolerable to patients and more effective in combating all TB strains," Mugurungi explained.

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ZIMBABWE: Global Fund grant to come through, finally

After a three-year delay, a US $10.3 million grant to Zimbabwe by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is "very close to signing", an official told PlusNews on Monday.

"The grant had been approved in principal when Zimbabwe had applied for it in 2002 - unfortunately, there were delays. We are now just waiting for some minor technical details to be addressed," said Jon Liden, spokesman for the Global Fund.

More details



LINKS:

1. HIV pharmacogenomics website launched

A new website highlighting developments in HIV pharmacogenomics has been launched, in a collaboration between pharmacology groups at the University
of Liverpool, Vanderbilt University in the United States and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Analysis of the interaction between genes and drugs, known as pharmacogenomics, is an accelerating field of research, and the website's editors believe that, over the coming years, increased knowledge in this field will drive clinical management towards the goal of individualised therapy for all patients. The site includes a list of recent publications with links to journal abstracts, and will also include a library of information on HIV pharmacogenomics.

www.hiv-pharmacogenomics.org

[ENDS]




 
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Links
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Le portail d'informations générales de la Côte d’Ivoire
VIH Internet
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