South African Health Department Says Country's HIV/AIDS Treatment Program Plan Behind Schedule
February 26, 2004
The South African Department of Health on Tuesday said that it was behind schedule in the rollout of its "Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care and Treatment" and would not meet its initial goal of having 53,000 people on antiretroviral drugs by the end of March, South Africa's Business Day reports (Kahn, Business Day, 2/25). The South African Cabinet in November 2003 approved a plan for a national HIV/AIDS treatment program, including the provision of antiretroviral drugs. The program aims to provide antiretroviral drugs to 1.2 million people -- or about 25% of the country's HIV-positive population -- by 2008. About 25% of South Africa's economically active individuals are HIV-positive, with about five million total HIV cases in the country (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/12). "At present, there are no patients on AIDS medicines. The figures we gave for the end of March are not feasible because the plan was approved only in November," Dr. Nono Simelela, chief director of the health department's HIV/AIDS program, said. She added that she could not specify when the first patients would receive the drugs, according to News24.com (Rossouw, News24.com, 2/24). The health department's drug procurement team plans to issue a request for proposals on March 5 and is scheduled to hold an information session on March 9, after which it plans to develop specifics on drug procurement, Business Day reports.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.