Failure to dispense ARVs could derail global '3 x 5' target

SOUTH AFRICA: Failure to dispense ARVs could derail global '3 x 5' target

JOHANNESBURG, 6 May 2005 (PLUSNEWS) - South Africa's health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang says the country will not be forced into meeting the World Health Organisation (WHO) goal of getting 3 million people in developing countries on anti-AIDS drugs by the end of 2005.

News reports quoted Tshabalala-Msimang as saying: "I don't want to be pushed or pressurised by a target of three million people on antiretrovirals (ARVs) by 2005 - WHO set that target themselves; they didn't consult us - I don't see why South Africa today must be the scapegoat for not reaching the target."

In a report published earlier this year, WHO said about 720,000 people in developing countries were taking the medication by the end of 2004, but indicated that South Africa was one of the key countries that could derail the drive.

In November 2003, the government initially set a target of treating 53,000 people by March 2004, but the public-health sector is now dispensing ARVs to around 42,000 people.


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