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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid