Angus Shaw, Yahoo! News, July 19, 2012
African nations are not receiving adequate international funding to fight HIV/AIDS, leaving them to face catastrophic consequences without enough medication, an independent, global medical and humanitarian organization said Thursday.
Experts at Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, said Congo is only able to supply anti-retroviral drugs to 15 percent of the people needing them and “patients are literally dying on our doorstep.”
In a statement released in Johannesburg ahead of the United Nations world AIDS conference in Washington starting July 22, the organization said African countries worst affected by the pandemic were the least able to provide “the best science” available to fight it.
The group said that while world data by the U.N. has pointed to gains over the disease, donors have scaled back on earlier funding commitments to Africa.
African countries were being increasingly urged to find their own domestic solutions to the AIDS pandemic, it said.
“This is just a cynical excuse for donors to scale back on their earlier commitments of putting an end to this disease. It will have catastrophic consequences for patients,” Dr. Eric Goemaere, the organization’s senior regional adviser for southern Africa, told reporters in Johannesburg. “It would be outrageous to assume that African states could combat this emergency alone, given their current limited resources.”
In South Africa, 32 percent of live births are HIV-exposed and it is estimated 30 percent of HIV-exposed babies will be infected within eight weeks of birth if there is no drug treatment. The country has 5.6 million people living with AIDS, the highest of any world nation, and an infection rate of about 18 percent of the population of 50 million.