November 8, 2010
On Tuesday, Brazil's president will make a two-day state visit to Mozambique and tour a facility that will become the first public antiretroviral factory in Africa. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva conceived of the ARV plant during a state visit to the African nation in 2003.
"President Lula will visit the site of the future [ARV] factory during his visit," said Leonardo Chavane, a spokesperson for Mozambique's health ministry. "The project is the product of a collaboration between Brazil and Mozambique." Mozambique, like Brazil, is a former Portuguese colony.
"Currently, the [ARVs] used in Mozambique are purchased in Europe, India or the United States," said Chavane. "That makes them very expensive because of the transportation costs. The factory will allow us to increase the amount of medication available while lowering the cost. That will help us fight AIDS more efficiently."
Brazil has pledged $20 million for the $26 million factory, including $8 million in equipment and $12 million in licensing fees. While an opening date has not yet been set, it could be complete next year, said Chavane. The first of the machines arrived last week.