CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News UpdateCAMEROON: Shortage of ARVS Hits Cameroon HIV/AIDS Patients
By Moki Edwin Kindzeka
November 1, 2013
Voice of America News (10.31.2013)
The Voice of America recently reported that Cameroon’s government was unable to supply antiretroviral (ARV) medications to half of the nation’s HIV-infected people. Although the number of HIV-infected people taking ARVs increased from 28,000 in 1998 to 200,000 in 2013, government assistance for HIV/AIDS treatment has remained level.
HIV patients who were unable to access treatment were becoming desperate, according to AIDS patient Jennine Kwake. Some patients had switched to alternate HIV treatments, but these stocks also were low or unavailable. Kwake stated that HIV-infected people would petition the government for assistance before they began to protest in the streets.
Minister of Public Health Andre Mama Fouda stated that increased demand caused the ARV shortage throughout the last 18 months. Although Cameroon's President Paul Biya has ordered $10 million in additional government funding for anti-AIDS drugs, Kwake contended that the government has not disbursed the money yet. Fouda noted that other mechanisms for funding HIV treatment could include a health support fund for donations from “enterprises.” The government would increase its contribution from approximately $11 million to $20 million in 2014. In October, the Global Fund also made a $20 million grant for HIV/AIDS treatment in Cameroon.
These initiatives would be sufficient to supply treatment for 122,000 HIV-infected people in 2014, but the government still would need to locate funding for ARV treatment for another 150,000 HIV-infected people.