News / Health

    MSF: West, Central Africa Lagging in HIV Care

    FILE - A physician talks to a patient who is HIV positive at a social and medical assistance clinic in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday March 19, 2001.
    FILE - A physician talks to a patient who is HIV positive at a social and medical assistance clinic in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Monday March 19, 2001.
    Jennifer Lazuta
    Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says only 20 percent of people living with HIV in French-speaking west and central Africa are receiving the antiretroviral drug treatment they need.  This is despite "enormous progress" made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in southern Africa, where the disease is more prevalent.   

    MSF says governments and aid agencies need to do more to help those living with HIV in West and Central Africa.

    According to the group, despite a relatively low prevalence of HIV in the region, less than five percent of the population, only a fifth of HIV patients who need antiretroviral treatment (ART) receive it.  Countless others die before they are diagnosed due to a lack of access to testing.

    In southern African countries, such as Malawi, an estimated 66 percent of people living with HIV have access to ART.

    Dr. David Maman is an HIV specialist with MSF.  He spoke to VOA from Montpellier, France, where experts are meeting this week to discuss strategies to improve HIV testing and care in Francophone Africa.

    “In some parts of Africa, like western Africa, you have very few physicians," Maman said. "And in some countries, only physicians are allowed to prescribe ARTs ...  So we do not get the same rate of ART coverage that we can get in eastern and southern Africa where the outcomes so far are a bit better.”

    Maman said that training less qualified health workers, such as nurses, to administer ART has been a successful strategy in other African countries, particularly in rural settings.

    He said allowing non-physicians to test for and treat HIV not only reaches more people, but frees doctors up for other, more complicated cases.

    Another challenge in west and central Africa is that HIV testing and treatment is not usually included in regular health care services.  Patients must go to specialized clinics, usually in big cities.

    “If someone comes to a clinic and he has a sign of infection that he has HIV, he must tested and if possible initiated [into treatment] where he lives, so that he does not have to go hundreds of kilometers or wait for the doctor to be present in the district.  So it is very important this issue of integration of care,” said Maman.

    Maman says having free, nearby access to testing and ART is a proven way of reducing HIV transmission.

    In Malawi for example, a 2013 MSF-led study found that they were able to reduce the HIV transmission rate to less than half a percent in selected communities by decentralizing treatment centers and incorporating HIV-care into rural clinics.

    Maman said that similar strategies are also possible in west and central Africa.  But it will take strong political will and significant financial resources.

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora