Africa Asia Middle East Français Português Subscribe IRIN Site Map
PlusNews
Global HIV/AIDS news and analysis
Advanced search
 Wednesday 03 October 2007
 
Home 
Africa 
Weekly reports 
In-Depth reports 
Country profiles 
Fact files 
Events 
Jobs 
Really Simple Syndication Feeds 
About PlusNews 
Donors 
Contact PlusNews 
 
Print report
SUDAN: ARV shortages slow treatment efforts in the south


Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
The only option for many HIV-positive patients in need of antiretrovirals is to travel more than 100km to Uganda.
YEI, 14 August 2007 (PlusNews) - The unavailability of life-prolonging antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in southern Sudan is threatening thousands of lives and forcing many patients to travel to neighbouring Uganda in search of the medication.

"There are no ARVs here, so once a month we have to travel to Arua [a town in northwestern Uganda] to get drugs," said Joel Baba, who lives in the southern Sudanese town of Yei in Central Equatoria State. "This trip is so expensive; we have to pay border charges, and for accommodation, food and transport - not many people can afford it."

Although peace has returned after 21 years of conflict between the northern and southern parts of Sudan, many areas in the south that were cut off from basic health services during the war still have no access to HIV medication.

Arua is more than 100km from Yei on badly maintained roads that have been damaged by bombs. "In the beginning [of treatment] the Ugandan clinics don't let you take a whole month's supply - you have to keep going for adherence counselling or stay in Uganda for some time, which makes it even more expensive," Baba said. "For patients who are already sick, it is impossible to travel."

There is scant information on the number of people living with the HI virus, which has further hampered provision of HIV services. A 2002-03 study, published in April 2006 in AIDS, the official journal of the International AIDS Society, put the prevalence in Yei at 4.4 percent, significantly higher than the official national prevalence of 2.6 percent.

According to Florianne Gaillardin, area coordinator for the American Refugee Committee, which provides home-based care and other HIV services in Yei, the problem is especially acute for HIV-positive pregnant women.

"Last year, four sites in Yei began providing PMTCT [prevention of mother-to-child transmission] services, using nevirapine provided by UNICEF [United Nations Children's Fund], but since December they stopped providing them - there is a big crisis in PMTCT here," she said.

Two antenatal centres in Yei confirmed that they had not received any nevirapine, an ARV medicine, since December 2006. UNICEF said the drug supply had been interrupted when their consultant in Yei left, making communications difficult.

Sheila Mangan, UNICEF's HIV/AIDS specialist in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, told IRIN/PlusNews that the organisation was in the process of rectifying the problem.

According to Benjamin Mondi, who runs the Sudan Medical Care antenatal clinic in Yei, "We have the testing kits, but when a woman tests positive for HIV we cannot do anything for her. When the woman goes into labour and needs to get the nevirapine, she cannot get on the bus to Uganda."

Most women could not afford to move to Uganda until they delivered, he added. "Why give the test if we cannot treat the patient?"

Youniter Mutsungah, director of New Start HIV Services, a Kenya-based NGO that recently carried out PMTCT training in Yei for community health workers from five southern Sudan states, said the absence of nevirapine had created a serious hurdle.

"We had to make site visits and do practicals, but because there were no drugs they had to be taught primarily about other aspects of PMTCT, such as safe delivery and breastfeeding options," she told IRIN/PlusNews. "We were very concerned by the lack of nevirapine in Yei."

kr/ks/he

See also: SUDAN: New road map to chart course against AIDS in the south


Theme(s): (IRIN) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (IRIN) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews), (IRIN) Prevention - PlusNews

[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Print report
FREE Subscriptions
Your e-mail address:


Submit your request
 More on Sudan
24/Aug/2007
GLOBAL: US company sues American Red Cross over use of Red Cross emblem
22/Aug/2007
ISRAEL-AFRICA: Deportation of 50 Africans sparks concern
22/Aug/2007
IRIN: Today's most popular IRIN articles
15/Aug/2007
ISRAEL-SUDAN: Safia A., Israel, “My husband was killed in Darfur in an attack on aid workers”
27/Jul/2007
SUDAN-UGANDA: Programmes disregard HIV among the elderly
 More on Care/Treatment - PlusNews
01/Oct/2007
ZIMBABWE: Bulawayo's water crisis cripples AIDS efforts
28/Sep/2007
INDONESIA: Injecting more than drugs
26/Sep/2007
GLOBAL: UNAIDS counts the cost of universal access
25/Sep/2007
MOZAMBIQUE: Businesses invest in AIDS fight
20/Sep/2007
NIGERIA: Treatment scale-up urgently needed
Back | Home page

Services:  Africa | Asia | Middle East | Radio | Film & TV | Photo | E-mail subscription
Feedback · E-mail Webmaster · IRIN Terms & Conditions · Really Simple Syndication News Feeds · About PlusNews · Bookmark PlusNews · Donors

Copyright © IRIN 2007
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.