News / Health

Shortage of ARVs Hits Cameroon HIV/AIDS Patients

FILE - A newly mechanized pharmaceutical machine that helps pharmacists dispense medicine is loaded with ARV medication, at the U.S. sponsored Themba Lethu, HIV/AIDS Clinic, at the Helen Joseph hospital, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
FILE - A newly mechanized pharmaceutical machine that helps pharmacists dispense medicine is loaded with ARV medication, at the U.S. sponsored Themba Lethu, HIV/AIDS Clinic, at the Helen Joseph hospital, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The government of Cameroon says it cannot supply anti-retrovirals to half of the patients who need them because of a drastic shortage of the drugs.  Health officials say the number of people receiving the anti-AIDS drug has soared from about 28,000 in 1998 to about 200,000 this year, but government assistance to treat HIV/AIDS has remained stagnant. 
 
At a Cameroon meeting of the Association of People Living with AIDS, members say there is a critical shortage of anti-retrovirals in the country, causing the health of HIV/AIDS patients of deteriorate.
 
Thirty-six-year-old patient Mathieu Mvondo said the situation is becoming desperate and that getting access to treatment is very difficult. When going to the hospital, he said, patients are told that there is nothing available or that they should come back in one week because there are no anti-retrovirals.
 
Mathieu said people living with HIV/AIDS have been complaining about the shortage and pleading for the government to help, but little has been done.
 
As a result of the shortage, many patients have switched from anti-retrovirals to other forms of life-saving drugs.  
 
However, some AIDS patients, such as 42-year-old Jennine Kwake, say that at most pharmacies stocks are running low of even the alternate drugs and some have already run out completely.
 
In response to the drug shortage, Cameroonian President Paul Biya ordered that $10 million in government funds be used to replenish the supply of anti-AIDS drugs. Kwake said those funds have not been disbursed.
 
“What we are doing now is preparing correspondences to encourage them to make available the funds.  We have always sacrificed and refused to go to the streets because we want to know what is happening before we can start protesting,” said Kwake.
 
Minister of Public Health Andre Mama Fouda attributed the shortage to the increasing number of people receiving anti-retrovirals.  He pointed out that government aid for the drugs has been stagnant while funding received from the Global Fund for AIDS has decreased 30 percent.
 
“For the past 18 months, we have witnessed shortages in stock because of insufficient resources.  Demand was very high and we did not have enough time to buy and stock antiretroviral drugs,” said Fouda.
 
Fouda adds that besides the presidential grant, the health ministry is thinking of ways to generate funds locally to take care of the growing needs of people living with AIDS.
 
“We are today thinking of creating a support fund for health.  This will permit us to raise additional money. We also have another approach to convince enterprises to contribute for the purchase of anti-retrovirals,” said Fouda.
 
The Global Fund in October approved a $20 million grant for HIV/AIDS treatment in Cameroon, while the government said it will nearly double its funding for anti-retroviral medicines from $11 million to about $20 million in 2014.
 
The new joint-funding initiatives are expected to secure anti-retroviral treatment for 122,000 people in need of state aid. However, even if 122,000 people are helped, another 150,000 would remain who will have to wait for the government to find funds for their treatment.

You May Like

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid