Agence France Presse (03.02.08) - Friday, March 07, 2008
Mozambican officials say Zimbabweans are crossing into the
country to obtain antiretrovirals (ARVs). Hyperinflation and
the lack of food and drugs in Zimbabwe are widely blamed on a
government land redistribution scheme that has virtually
destroyed commercial agriculture and frightened away foreign
"We walked for a day in the mountains," said one girl, 17,
recounting the six-mile hike to Mozambique with her HIV-
positive brothers, ages 13 and 8. "It was tough above all for
Orphaned in 2006, the children lived with their grandmother
until she turned them out in January. "My grandmother chased
us away," the girl said. "She was afraid of the boys because
they are sick. She was scared to touch them, even to cook for
The brothers received ARVs in Zimbabwe once before, but
government-sponsored treatment is difficult to access, and
private ARVs are too expensive. So the children crossed into
the Mozambican province of Manica to find treatment.
"I feel better now," said the older boy, whose body is covered
with a severe rash. "It's not so bad as before."
"Hundreds of Zimbabweans come here to get AIDS treatment that
Mozambique provides free," said Aarao Uaquico, local
coordinator of the national council against AIDS. "We
accommodate all patients without discriminating," said Marilia
Pugas, senior provincial doctor.
The number of HIV/AIDS patients receiving free ARVs in
Mozambique has risen from 7,000 in 2005 to more than 100,002
today. The treatment's annual price per patient is $50, said
Maurico Cysne, the Mozambican UNAIDS representative. "It is
extraordinary," Cysne said of the progress being made. "But
the costs are enormous."