MOZAMBIQUE: ARVs slowly play catch up with HIV caseload

The transport sector has played a significant role in the country's steadily growing economy.
Maputo, 20 June 2008 (PlusNews) - The number of children orphaned by AIDS has doubled since 2003, and the high rate of HIV prevalence has dented Mozambique's growth rates, a new report has found.

The 2008 HIV and Nutrition Status Report on Mozambique, funded by the World Bank, said an estimated 441,000 children younger than 18 had lost one or both parents to AIDS in 2007, twice the number in 2003. The report, released during a recent national conference on food and nutrition, warned that the trend was expected to continue.

The report also found that the high prevalence of HIV risks lowering the country’s growth rates by as much as one percent annually.

The country's geographical position along the Indian Ocean makes it the main transit area for goods arriving in its ports for onward shipment to landlocked neighbouring countries.

Mozambique has three main transport corridors: the Maputo Corridor in the south goes to South Africa and Swaziland, the Beira Corridor serves Zimbabwe and other inland countries, and the Nacala Corridor in the north goes as far as Malawi and Zambia.

While the transport sector has played a significant role in the Portuguese-speaking country's steadily growing economy, it has also contributed to the spread of HIV. Mozambique's infection rate of 16 percent is one of the highest in the world.

"Highest prevalence rates also occur along transportation routes connecting Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa, disproportionately affecting mobile populations and their partners," the report noted.

Inadequate human resources

Although the shortage of healthcare workers is a worldwide phenomenon, in Mozambique the situation is acute: in 2006 the country had 0.2 doctors and 2.8 nurses and midwives per 10,000 inhabitants, compared to 0.8 and 11.9 respectively in Angola, 6.9 and 38.8 in South Africa, and 0.6 and 5.4 in Zimbabwe, according to the report.

Success on the ART front

The government has fought to contain the epidemic and between 2005 and 2007 rapidly made antiretroviral therapy (ART) available. The number of people receiving ART has now increased to 88,211.

The report says the ministry of health is on target to reach its goal of having 110,000 people on ART treatment by 2010 - about 32 percent of the eligible population - but it still needs to make significant efforts to reach full coverage of the 340,000 people who require treatment.


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

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

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