NGOs seek local funds to access ARVs

BURKINA FASO: NGOs seek local funds to access ARVs

OUAGADOUGOU, 8 Nov 2004 (PLUSNEWS) - Local HIV/AIDS NGOs in Burkina Faso are planning to raise funds in the country rather than seek external sources of funding for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, activists told PlusNews.

About 43,000 HIV-positive people in the country need treatment, but in June this year only 2,000 people were receiving it. An estimated 300,000 people in Burkina Faso are living with HIV/AIDS.

"The Global Fund takes care of 3,500 people over a period of four years, but what will become of them at the end of the period?" asked Mamadou Sawadogo, president of Burkina's National Network For Greater Involvement of People Living with AIDS (REGIPIV), while talking to PlusNews.

Sawadogo said external resources were mainly aimed at financing highly visible prevention efforts, while neglecting longer-term antiretroviral therapy.

The network had subsequently decided to mobilise national resources by appealing for local funds through sports or cultural events. "If you sleep on someone else's mat, he could remove it at any time, and you'd have to sleep on the floor," Sawadogo said, quoting a local saying to encourage people to participate in the country's efforts towards greater self-sufficiency.

The campaign is expected to be launched in March 2005, by which time the REGIPIV hopes to have collected the estimated US $100,000 needed to fund it.

The network, which was created in 2001, coordinates about 40 associations of people living with the disease. "We are fighting to make ARVs available and accessible to the destitute," he explained.

ARV treatment in Burkina Faso costs between US $15 and $80 per month, which is more than most people can afford. Landlocked Burkina Faso is a poor country that is largely dependent on its neighbours, notably in terms of jobs for its mobile agricultural workforce - close to three million Burkinabe live and work in Ivorian coffee and cocoa plantations.

"Access to ARVs has become a must, an imperative. We need to provide concrete action for those people infected with HIV/AIDS if we want to be effective in the fight and go beyond mere words," Sawadogo stressed.


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