April 14, 2011
PlusNews IRIN examines the funding challenges Zimbabwe has faced with recently implementing WHO HIV treatment guidelines, which were introduced nearly one year ago. The newer drugs recommended in the WHO guidelines "are estimated to be one-and-a-half times more expensive than" older medicines. "With HIV/AIDS funding levels already worryingly low, AIDS activists have expressed concern that if these new expensive regimens are adopted, many people may fail to access treatment in the long run," the news service writes. Owen Mugurungi, national coordinator of the health ministry's AIDS and TB unit, acknowledged the new drugs are expensive, but said it could result in savings over the long-term. "When you do a cost-benefit analysis adopting the new drug regimen is recommendable ... our hope is that our development partners will assist us [in funding] the implementation of these new guidelines, we cannot do it alone," he said (4/12). Zimbabwe media reported on Wednesday that the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria turned down one of the country's grant applications. "Zimbabwe still has an option to apply for money through Round 11 of the fund due in December," the Zimbabwe Guardian reports (4/13).