South Africa Faces Obstacles in Implementing New Nationwide Antiretroviral Program
August 15, 2003
Toronto's Globe and Mail today reports on some of the obstacles South Africa faces in implementing a national antiretroviral program by Oct. 1, including a potential lack of funds in the Department of Health (MacGregor, Globe and Mail, 8/15). The South African government on Aug. 8 called for the Ministry of Health to develop a national program to provide antiretroviral medications to residents with HIV/AIDS. The announcement came after a special meeting of the cabinet to consider a Joint Health and Treasury Task Team cost report on providing HIV/AIDS drugs to the public. According to the cabinet, "Policy and funding commitments made in the last two years leave South Africa well placed to offer a comprehensive package of prevention and care in the health sector" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 8/11). However, some experts doubt that the department will develop a plan by the suggested date, and some AIDS advocates say that it is unlikely that a nationwide plan will be in place before the 2008 deadline, according to the Globe and Mail. The price of the drugs and a lack of funding and health workers pose challenges to the department, the Globe and Mail reports. Funding earmarked for HIV/AIDS for fiscal year 2003-2004 is about $1 billion and is set to reach $1.35 billion in the next two years. According to the cost report released last week, a full care and treatment package for half of the 120,000 people who would be eligible for the plan could cost as much as $1.8 billion annually.
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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.