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

10 Migrants Drown, While 4,100 Rescued off Libyan Coast

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudi-led Airstrikes Use Banned Cluster Bombs

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen More

Hopes Fade of Finding Survivors of Nepal Earthquake

US military aircraft, heavy equipment and air traffic controllers arrive in Nepal to help manage growing piles of relief supplies clogging Kathmandu airport 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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs