Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa says his government expects to make anti-retroviral drugs available next year to about 100,000 people living with HIV/AIDS. He made the remarks when he officially opened parliament in Lusaka, Friday.
The Zambian leader says his government began providing ARV’S last year to treat 10,000 people.
He says his government is expected to continue and increase the effort so more infected persons have access to treatment.
"We will endeavour to expand the provision of anti-retroviral therapy so that by the year 2005, at least 100,000 Aids patients will be on the anti-retroviral therapy programs thru the public health system."
President Mwanawasa has called on both the private sector and individual Zambians to do their part and complement government efforts in the fight against the Aids pandemic.
"While government can only do so much the war against HIV AIDS can only be successfully fought thru the minds of each and every one of us both collectively and individually."
Some aids experts say about 300,000 people in Zambia are in need of anti-retroviral drugs or ARV’S. But the government say it can only help 10,000 people until it gets additional resources to buy more drugs. However, recent reports attributed to the ministry of health indicate that only about 5000 people countrywide actually are taking ARV’S.
ARV’S are now available in public hospitals located in the nine provinces of the country.
The cost of anti-retroviral drugs in public hospitals has been reduced to the equivalent of US $10 a month. In private clinics and drug stores, monthly treatment costs about US $50.