Africa Asia Middle East عربي Français Português free subscription IRIN Site Map RSS find PlusNews on facebook follow PlusNews on twitter
Global HIV/AIDS news and analysis
Advanced search
 Wednesday 16 June 2010
Weekly reports 
In-Depth reports 
Country profiles 
Fact files 
Most read 
Print report Bookmark and Share
AFRICA: Lost funding means lost lives

Photo: Charles Akena/IRIN
Clinics are already turning away patients, says MSF
JOHANNESBURG, 27 May 2010 (PlusNews) - As donors retreat from funding HIV and AIDS programmes, years of progress in HIV treatment are under threat and the lives of HIV-positive people are increasingly on the line, according to a new report by the international medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Improved access to antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has saved lives, reduced the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) and new HIV infections, and strengthened health systems in many countries hard hit by HIV. But as funding diminishes, these gains are now in jeopardy, says MSF's new report, No Time to Quit: HIV/AIDS Treatment Gap Widening in Africa.

Funding shortages in eight African countries have already led to drug stock-outs, treatment rationing, and the inability of most of the countries to adopt improved ARV regimens advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO), the report noted.

"About 75 percent of HIV funding in developing countries is international – you can't replace that in the short term," said Mit Philips, a health policy analyst at MSF and one of the report's authors.

"Even for South Africa, one of the richest countries in the region, to realise its plans for the fight against HIV it will also have to rely on international assistance."

Donors pull back 

The recent decision by the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) to flat-line its funding at 2009 levels and decrease annual budget allocations in coming years, has already led PEPFAR-supported clinics in South Africa to begin turning away patients.

UNITAID, the international drug purchasing facility, is to phase out drug funding, leaving Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Malawi without funding for costly second-line ARV drugs by 2012.

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has started accepting applications for Round 10 of funding but has capped funding levels for the first time - a worrying sign that the donor drought may be far from over.

"A moral betrayal"

Dr Eric Goemaere, MSF Medical Coordinator in South Africa, called donor backtracking a "moral betrayal". "Years ago, countries in this region [southern Africa] were unsure that they could afford treatment, but they were told [by the international community], 'Set ambitious targets, we will follow with the money'," he told IRIN/PlusNews.

Read more:
 Straight talk with Global Fund director
 Preparing for the worst
 Obama expands health agenda, but not funding
"If this funding trend is confirmed, I would call it a moral betrayal ... for patients, who we told to be courageous and face testing because we would provide treatment; for the health staff, who managed to enrol more than four million people on treatment, and who are suddenly told not to enrol patients."

The report predicted that if the downward trend in funding continued, ARVs would become increasingly inaccessible, which would lead to increased rates of mortality and hospitalisation among those living with HIV, and place a strain on already weak health systems.

The report also warned that ARV patients may adopt risky strategies for coping with drug supply shortages, such as sharing pills, thereby increasing the likelihood of widespread drug resistance.


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


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

Submit your request
 More on AFRICA
AFRICA: Mother knows best
GLOBAL: IRIN/PlusNews Weekly Issue 489, 11 June 2010
GLOBAL: Factory closure could leave 7,000 babies without ARVs
AFRICA: Testing an ARV-containing vaginal ring
GLOBAL: IRIN/PlusNews Weekly Issue 488, 4 June 2010
 More on Care/Treatment - PlusNews
AFRICA: Mother knows best
SOUTH AFRICA: Poor MDR-TB knowledge among nurses
KENYA: For the first time, money for ARVs
SOUTH AFRICA: TB patients not getting HIV counselling
KENYA-SOMALIA: Halima*, "You find out very quickly who your friends are"
 Most Read 
EAST AFRICA: Pregnancy and HIV vaccine trials
KENYA: For the first time, money for ARVs
KENYA: "What would happen if my penis refused to heal?" Why men refuse circumcision
AFRICA: Mother knows best
SOUTH AFRICA: Poor MDR-TB knowledge among nurses
Back | Home page

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

Copyright © IRIN 2010
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.