African heads of state are squandering money instead of spending it on HIV/AIDS and TB programmes, activists in Cape Town said today launching a campaign called: Show Us the Money for Health.
“HIV is not over-funded: Health is Under-Funded!” they declared in a statement signed by nearly 100 organisations around the world for the campaign, spearheaded by ARASA (AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa).
They released a short report – Sick and Tired – highlighting the major challenges on the continent and music videos on the extravagant spending of African heads of state.
“We will call for African governments to meet their commitments to health, to ensure accountability in the use of health funding.
“We will also call on Western governments not let African lives be caught in political crossfire, by backtracking on their commitments to HIV and health funding,” they said.
Demonstrators are using their giant eyeball – a reminder they are watching leaders and will hold them accountable – to mobilise people today in Nyanga, Khayelitsha and the city centre if you want to join the protest.
They will put up large screens with the ‘King of Bling’ music videos and distribute the Mswait dollar bills.
To sign the petition and support the campaign visit the ARASA website.
Lesotho is successfully doing nurse-initiated AIDS treatment at a primary health care level, a study in the current issue of the Journal of the International AIDS Society shows.
And Lesotho is doing better than South Africa despite having fewer resources.
Patients in Lesotho are starting treatment earlier than in South Africa – at CD4 counts of below 350 instead of below 200.
Their programme is using tenofovir in its first line regimen, which is better for patients.
Once again MSF – which initiated a programme in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape – is a major player in this rural care and treatment programme.
MSF, the Lesotho Health Ministry and the Christian Health Association of Lesotho rolled out the decentralized HIV/AIDS care programme in a rural area with 14 clinics and one district hospital.
“More than 13 243 people have been enrolled in HIV care (5% children), and 5376 initiated on ART (6.5% children), 80% at primary care level,” according to the study – and the results are encouraging.
“The proportion of adults arriving sick (CD4 <50 cells/mm3) decreased from 22.2% in 2006 to 11.9% in 2008.
“Twelve-month outcomes are satisfactory in terms of mortality (11% for adults; 9% for children) and loss to follow up (8.8%).
“At 12 months, 80% of adults and 89% of children were alive and in care, meaning they were still taking their treatment; at 24 months, 77% of adults remained in care.”
Medecins Sans Frontieres warned this week, again, that declining international donor funds could reverse the dramatic gains made in AIDS treatment, particularly across Africa.
Launching the report ‘Punishing success? Early signs of a retreat from commitment to HIV/AIDS care and treatment’, Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer said: “We think we are at a very dangerous turning point.”
The director of MSF’s campaign to provide essential medicines, he said: “The donors are getting cold feet about commitment to longterm, chronic disease.”
If the funding of antiretroviral treatment is reversed, lives will be lost.
HIV patients in SA – and at least five more African countries – who need antiretroviral drugs are at risk of dying before they can get the tablets, Medecins San Frontieres declared today on the eve of the 5th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2009).
“All around us, clinics are stopping enrolling patients because there are just not enough ARV supplies,” Eric Goemaere, MSF Head of Mission in South Africa stated in a release on the problems with drug funding and supplies.
“The waiting lists are growing by the day, risking that patients die before they start ARVs. It’s unbelievable that a relatively well-functioning ARV programme has been allowed to be crippled in the space of just a few weeks.”
A cut in SA’s health budget has severely worsened existing problems.
MSF warned that shortfalls in funding and disruption to supplies or stockouts have led to the “delay, suspension, or risk of suspension of the supply of life-saving HIV drugs” in South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea — and that this could be catastrophic.
MSF appealed governments, donors and their partners “to take urgent and concrete measures” to end the crisis.
72 hours. That’s all the time there is to prevent HIV infection after rape and sexual assault. Survivors must be treated as soon as possible with post-exposure prophylaxis (antiretroviral drugs) and definitely within three days.
This is the message from Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Doctors, which treated more than 12000 victims of sexual assault in Liberia, Burundi, DRC, South Africa, Colombia and other countries in 2007.
In its Shattered Lives campaign launched online this week, MSF urges that emergency medical care be made available to all people who have been raped.
In South Africa estimates are that a woman is raped every 26 seconds.
Meinie Nicolai, MSF operational director, explains: “Each (victim) tells a story of horror, pain and degradation, often inflicted by the very people who should provide protection, such as fathers, uncles, neighbours, or soldiers. And all of the victims are at risk from serious long-term health consequences as a result of the assault.”
“Men and boys make up a small minority of the people seen by MSF in its sexual violence projects (around 6 per cent in the projects in Khayelitsa, South Africa and Masisi, DRC).”
Near to Khayelitsha survivors of sexual violence can go to the one-stop centre Simelela for treatment and support — and last year more than 1000 new patients were treated at this centre, with 80% of rape survivors assisted within 72 hours.