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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs