AIDS drug programme not meeting demand

BOTSWANA: AIDS drug programme not meeting demand

JOHANNESBURG, 29 Jul 2004 (PLUSNEWS) - The head of Botswana's AIDS drug programme, Ernest Darkoh, has expressed concern that the initiative lacked the capacity to meet the country's "ever worsening, perpetual, insatiable demand".

At a UN Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa conference earlier this week, Darkoh suggested that the outdated health infrastructure and lack of health workers could be partly to blame for the problem.

"We do not have the staff to deal with it ... [the] critically ill and dying clog the system. Those at the back of the queue - we only get around to when they are also dying," Reuters quoted Darkoh as saying.

Botswana, which has the highest per capita HIV prevalence rate in the world, was the first country in Africa to provide free anti-AIDS drugs to HIV-positive people through a programme funded by profits from its diamond industry, donor governments, drug firms and AIDS organisations.


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