Targets for Anti-Retroviral
de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
March 25, 2003
Posted to the web March 25, 2003
The Mozambican Health Ministry plans to
assist over 100,000 HIV-positive people with anti-retroviral
drug treatment over the next five years, according to a report
in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
Since it is estimated that well over a
million Mozambicans are infected with HIV, this target is
modest. If reached, it will mean that fewer than ten per cent
of HIV-positive people will have access to the life-prolonging
Even so, a huge effort is required to
train staff in administering anti-retroviral drugs, and in
other key aspects of the Ministry's AIDS programme. Cited by
the paper, Ministry spokesman Dr Rui Bastos warned that the
introduction of anti- retroviral therapy exposed the
weaknesses of the Mozambican health service.
This treatment requires not only
detailed knowledge and technical skills, but permanent control
over all activities, to ensure that patients do not interrupt
their treatment. Once initiated, anti-retroviral treatment is
Bastos said that for the AIDS programme,
the Ministry needs well over 1,500 new health professionals.
114 of these would specialise in preventing the transmission
of HIV from pregnant women to their unborn children (using the
drug nevirapine), while 322 would work in the voluntary
testing and counselling offices being established across the
The day hospitals for HIV sufferers need
125 doctors, 175 medical technicians and 590 nurses.
In addition, 125 laboratory technicians
and 125 pharmacists are needed who should deal with the needs
of HIV/AIDS patients on a full-time basis. Bastos warned that
it would take a gigantic effort to train all these people.
This work has already begun, and Bastos
said the Italian Santo Egidio Community has set up condition
to train 40 doctors, 10 lab technicians and 10 nurses. Last
year the Health Ministry held two courses on anti-retrovirals,
attended by 80 doctors from all 11 of the country's provinces.