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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

    


 

Targets for Anti-Retroviral Treatment

Maputo

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 drugs.

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 for life.

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 country.

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.