Under this year's theme, "Pharmacies United in Action for a Healthier World," the US Government (USG) joined the Cameroon National Order of Pharmacists to celebrate World Pharmacist Day at a conference in Douala on September 23 with the participation of officials from Cameroon.
Ministry of Public Health.
The US Government is committed to strengthening the public-private partnership and supports the Department's efforts to continue decentralizing the dispensing of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs for HIV/AIDS to include private pharmacies.
The ai representative of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Allan Reed, stated: “With the financial support of the Government of the United States, the Department of Public Health, in collaboration with its technical and financial partners, including the National Order of Pharmacists of Cameroon, developed and validated guidelines on the dispensing of ARVs in private pharmacies; operational tools for demand creation, enrollment, health information management; and the monitoring and evaluation of this differentiated care model.
Training of trainers has already been carried out and 40 pharmacists and pharmacy staff in the cities of Yaoundé and Douala have been trained.
The actual dispensing of ARVs through private pharmacies is scheduled to begin on October 1, 2022.” The US government, through USAID, works in partnership with the Department of Public Health to deliver HIV/AIDS and malaria commodities to health facilities without delay.
USAID has helped train 100 pharmacists and assistants from the North and Far North regions in inventory management.
As a result, decentralized distribution will improve access to HIV/AIDS care by reducing client waiting times at health facilities and increasing health outcomes.
It will also align and complement existing community distribution models.
In 2022, USAID invested up to $15 million (FCFA 7 billion) for the acquisition of pharmaceutical products and supply chain systems.
This investment helped strengthen supply chain capacity in around 800 health facilities in Cameroon.
USAID also worked to improve ordering practices for health products through the training of pharmacists and staff of some pharmacies in more than 300 health establishments throughout the national territory.
The training included the online ordering process for HIV/AIDS commodities.
The US government welcomes Cameroon's ratification of the treaty establishing the African Medicines Agency and encourages the creation of a Cameroon Medicines Agency.
USAID provides technical support for the development and validation of the draft decree establishing this agency, which is an important priority for the Cameroonian Ministry of Public Health and the National Order of Pharmacists.
USAID also helps strengthen Cameroon's health supply chain and supports the Ministry of Public Health in revising pharmaceutical legislation.
The Northwest Department of Health has noted with concern several media reports of the alleged unavailability of drugs for patients on antiretroviral (ARV), tuberculosis (TB), and family planning following the release of the second edition of the Retshidze report recently.
The Department finds the media reports to be misleading as they do not provide an accurate impression of the state of health in the North West Province, particularly the current state of drug availability in the province.
Therefore, the NWDoH refutes, with due contempt, the distorted information that has made its way into the public space as a result of the Retshidze report, an assessment compiled from observations and interviews without soliciting facts from the custodian department.
of public health services in the province.
The Department, as part of Section 100 (1) (b) interventions, made significant progress in addressing provincial public health drug shortages.
The general availability of provincial medicines reached 81% according to the national essential list in the third quarter of 2021/2022.
The availability of Antiretrovirals (ARV) and vaccines for the Expanded Program on Immunizations has remained above 92%, while drugs for Tuberculosis (TB) are above 82%.
The Province has developed and implemented a system to track the availability of medicines in the province.
This system allows the transfer of stock between facilities based on the individual needs of each facility.
Currently, the availability of stock in the province is as follows: ARVs The media reported that the drug Lamivudine has the highest number of shortages (44%) in the facilities.
The Department refutes these reports and can confirm that drug availability for Lamivudine 150 mg 56 tablets improved from 76% at the beginning of the year to 83% in July 2022.
This improvement in availability followed a departmental intervention that raised the concern before the National Department.
Department of Health regarding a shortage of lamivudine in January this year and received assistance to purchase two months' supply from Aspen and Adcock.
The department has resolved to request stocks of lamivudine for the provincial warehouse of Gauteng province in the meantime, in accordance with the inter-provincial stock transfers approved by the National Department of Health until stock levels of this particular drug stabilize.
The NWDoH can confirm that Dolutegravir stock availability has been consistently above 90% since early 2022, despite media reports claiming severe unavailability of the drug and subsequently ranking it second higher number of shortages.
The Health department is in talks with Hetero, Mylan and Sonke to supply stock this month and will ensure all provinces get their fair share.
According to publications, the drug TLD had a stock-out rate of 7%, however, the accurate availability trend is greater than 97% for the 28-pack.
Health facilities also stock the 90-day pack, but it is not available.
on the national or provincial forms as this item was donated by USAID and the Global Fund and no SSN number was assigned.
Reports have also alleged severe shortages of the drugs Abacavir/lamivudine, Efavirenz, Abacavir and Zidovudine, causing stocks to be 5-7% out of stock.
As a Department, we can confidently report that the availability trend for Abacavir/Lamivudine 300/600, 28s has been consistently above 95% since the beginning of this year.
Abacavir/Lamivudine 300/600, 28s availability has been above 95%, while Abacavir Medicine availability trends for 20 mg/mL solution and 300 mg tablets are consistently above 95% for 2022, with the 60 mg dispersible tablets reaching medium to high levels.
1980s Zidovudine on average is trending towards approximately 87% drug availability with the pack of 100 100mg capsules achieving greater than 90% availability for all of 2022.
TB Treatment Overall TB drug availability through end of July 2022 is 81.6%.
Rifampicin/isoniazid received a reported stockout rate of 47% in the media; however, provincial availability trends for 300 mg/150 mg 56s are over 94% for all of 2022 so far, 150 mg/75 mg 56 singles are between 89% and 91%.
for 2022 too.
Procuring Refinah 60/60 28s and 56s was a challenge for the province earlier this year due to suppliers running out of stock, however the challenge was resolved in May and we are currently hovering between 70-80% in terms of availability of stock.
The province has never experienced any supply issues with Rifafour, which currently hovers between 80% and 90% in terms of stock availability.
Availability of family planning and injectable medications at our facilities ranges from 88-95% with Depo Provera (medroxyprogesterone) seeing a dramatic improvement in availability from 67% in January to 95% in July of this year.
Oral contraceptives including Ovral and Triphasil have recorded 85-87% stock availability in the province.
In addition, we have recorded a 92% availability of subdermal implants in facilities that were reported to be experiencing a shortage of stock.
The Department will experience shortages of specific items from time to time when there is a national problem with that specific drug.
However, information about a departmental process for filing general complaints is available from various health facilities.
Through this process, people experiencing drug shortages may intensify their challenges if they believe they are not getting the cooperation of the health centers they visit.
Some experts, world leaders, and stars around the world have called for the dramatic reduction in price of the ground-breaking new HIV medicines, to ensure global accessibility to all who need them.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the advocates included Nobel laureates Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Joseph Stiglitz, former President of Malawi, Dr Joyce Banda and former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.Others are artistes Olly Alexander (singer and actor), Stephen Fry (actor, writer, and presenter), Adam Lambert (singer and songwriter), David Oyelowo (actor, producer, director) and Arnaud Valois (actor).Also, business leaders Mo Ibrahim and Paul Polman are amongst those who have joined the call in an open letter.The letter was published in the run up to the International AIDS Conference, which opened in Montreal on July 29. “ AIDS pandemic continues to take a life every minute, and new HIV infections are rising in too many communities.“The breakthrough long-acting medicine only has to be taken every few months and is proving to be one of the most effective methods to prevent HIV transmission.“In addition to the prevention tool available now, long-acting antiretrovirals could one day be part of revolutionizing treatment to prevent deaths.“But these medicines are currently only available in high-income countries at a price of tens of thousands of dollars – far out of reach for people and governments in low- and middle-income countries.“People in these countries need them most,’’ they said in the letter.The advocates said that these long-acting HIV medicines could enable millions of adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa to protect themselves from acquiring HIV.According to them, they can enable people from marginalised communities including gay men, transgender people, and sex workers, to receive a discreet injection every few months to protect themselves.The letter called on ViiV, one of the world’s largest HIV pharmaceutical companies, to share their technology and know-how to boost production and set their price at a point where all countries could afford to buy these medicines.In particular, it called on ViiV to tackle the barriers to access by taking some steps.“Announce a lower price for the long-acting injectable ARV for prevention, CAB-LA, as close as possible to that of other HIV prevention medicines (PrEP).“The current best PrEP option is approximately $60 per person per year.Make the price public and transparent, and include the cost of the accompanying syringe.“Quickly finalise licences to produce generic versions of this long-acting ARV through the Medicines Patent Pool. “Licence across the world’s low- and middle-income countries on a non-exclusive basis, with a broad geographic scope for both treatment and prevention.“Share know-how and technology.Enable producers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern and Central Europe and beyond to seek transfer and begin producing.“Commit to making enough to meet demand until generic producers come online.’’ Lilian Mworeko, Regional Coordinator of the International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA), said: “While many in the global North are getting access to long-acting HIV prevention tools and medicines, Africans are overwhelmingly denied the opportunity.“It is worse for groups who continue to be left behind like adolescent girls and young women.“ As long as the price is unaffordably high for our governments and for funders to purchase, we will continue to be locked out from being able to access them.“They are vital to preventing new HIV infections and they could become transformational in treatment.“Our message is simple: all of our lives matter,’’ she said.As the global HIV response has come under strain from the COVID-19 crisis and the Ukraine war, ensuring rapid, affordable and equitable access to these medicines has become even more urgent.The signatories to the letter stressed that they could and must be made available to everyone, regardless of the passport they hold or the money in their pocket.They said that the new medicines present a remarkable opportunity to avoid the scientific and policy mistakes that defined the early years of AIDS whereby after the first antiretroviral HIV drugs received approval, prohibitive costs meant they were out of reach in the global South.They said that millions died and that the failings were not due to scientific or technical limitations but as the result of conscious choices about how medical innovation and access to health tools were organised and financed.“It is within ViiV’s power to ensure that millions more people around the world are able to benefit from the incredible technical advances that have gone into this new medicine.“If countries know that it is available at an affordable price, they will be able to prioritise the purchase of it from their health budgets and to make it available to all who need it,’’ said Deborah Gold, CEO of the National Aids Trust.Also, Dr Ayoade Alakija, Co-Chair of the Africa Union Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance for COVID-19 , remarked.“There is a choice about how new medicines are launched into the global market in terms of whether they are available to everyone, everywhere.“The limitations are less to do with scientific or technical challenges and much more to do with how medical innovation and access to health countermeasures are currently organised and financed to favour the rich and reinforce inequity.’’ The International AIDS Conference, is taking place in Montreal from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2022. It offers an historic opportunity for ViiV to stand with world leaders, civil society and people living with and at risk of HIV from around the world and pledge actions that will save lives and accelerate efforts to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. The World Health Organisation will release new guidelines on CAB-LA – the new medicines – at the conference.Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS, said: “The stakes are high.40 million people around the world are living with HIV today, and around 1.5 million people were newly infected in 2020 alone.“This is an issue of inequality.“Will these new medicines help us break down the inequalities driving the AIDS pandemic – affordable and available for those who need them most?Or will they stay out of reach?“The pharmaceutical industry has the opportunity to make medicines affordable and accessible to people in all countries, including so-called middle-income countries – through sharing technologies and setting an affordable price today until those generics come online.”NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The MEC Madoda Sambatha of the North West Department of Health recently provided an update on the achievements of the Section 100 (1) (b) intervention that was evoked in the department on April 25, 2018.
The placement of the department under administration in terms of this section of the constitution of the Republic of South Africa was the result of a number of challenges experienced which affected the provision of efficient and adequate health services to the communities of the North West Province.
Reflecting on the achievements of the intervention, MEC Sambatha indicated that key management vacancies had been filled and more than five thousand (5000) permanent front-line staff had been appointed to improve the provision of quality health services to the citizens of the Northwest. .
“Many departmental officials were promoted to higher level positions, which contributed to staff satisfaction, stability and loyalty to the Department,” said MEC Sambatha.
“The work environment has also stabilized and discipline is slowly returning to NWDoH in both the areas of financial misconduct and dereliction of duty,” added MEC Sambatha.
MEC Sambatha noted that the dismissal of the previous Head of Department was a strategic move that sent a strong message that public service laws and regulations must be respected and enforced.
This is how the intervention has directly benefited the inhabitants of the province:The ratio of health professionals per 100,000 population increased, making health facilities more responsive than in 2018. Operating theaters were repaired, equipment purchased, and specialists appointed. This move resulted in a reduction in surgical delays at hospitals. More MRIs were performed, improving access to sophisticated diagnostic procedures. The kidney unit in Klerksdorp-Tshepong was upgraded to help the province get more people on kidney dialysis. Orthopedic surgeons were appointed, reducing the backlog of operations and reducing waiting periods for orthopedic operations. An ophthalmologist was appointed at Mahikeng Hospital. This specialist performed more than 200 cataract operations in less than two months after her appointment in 2019, restoring sight to our older generation. Additional Internal Medicine specialists were appointed, resulting in improved clinical management processes and the elimination of people, in some of the larger hospitals, sleeping on the floor while awaiting treatment. These specialists led the management of COVID-19 in the seven large hospitals. Other key appointments made to positively impact service delivery include obstetricians, dermatologists, pediatricians, general surgeons, psychologists, audiology and speech therapists, as well as family physicians. Managers for Quality Assurance were appointed in the seven large hospitals and this gave further impetus to the quality improvement drive of the hospitals. To support key clinical processes and ensure our facilities adhere to infection prevention and control principles, additional administrative staff, maintenance staff, and cleaning staff have also been appointed. Space in primary health care facilities has been improved through infrastructure projects.
The department has made further progress in addressing drug shortages at public health facilities.
“The general availability of provincial medicines reached 81% according to the national essential list in the third quarter of 2021/2022. The availability of Antiretrovirals (ARV) and vaccines for the Expanded Program on Immunization has remained above 92%, while drugs for Tuberculosis (TB) are above 82%”, highlighted the MEC Sambatha.
The Province will experience shortages of specific items from time to time when there is a national problem with that specific drug. However, information about a departmental process for filing general complaints is available from various health facilities. Through this process, people experiencing drug shortages may intensify their challenges if they believe they are not getting the cooperation of the health facilities they visit.
Quarraisha Abdool Karim, PhDAfrica is plagued by many epidemics — from tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS to malaria and wild polio — but the continent has also worked for decades to fight these threats. The key to beating these deadly diseases is turning inward to existing expertise and finding locally driven solutions.The recent COVID-19 pandemic has placed public health back in the global spotlight and has also served as a reminder that science is not undertaken in an ivory tower. Science shapes humanity because it takes place among us. COVID-19 has also showcased that no epidemic takes place in isolation. Through collaboration, we can build on the foundations of our knowledge to bring forward innovative ways to address health challenges that benefit all of humanity.This is not a new idea. In fact, it is something that we became all too familiar with during the AIDS pandemic.Despair, pain, and loss were rampant during the 1980s and early 1990s, at the beginning of South Africa’s HIV epidemic. Every weekend, white funeral tents in rural KwaZulu-Natal seemed to mushroom up and multiply, signifying the growing toll the virus was taking on the country.Witnessing this helped catalyze me to undertake one of the earliest population-based studies that looked closely at this emerging health issue in South Africa. HIV prevalence was low at the time, with less than 1% of the population having been infected.But lurking within the data was a shocking revelation: young women (15-24 years old) were six times more likely to be infected compared to their male counterparts.We knew something had to be done. That meant understanding what had led to this striking disparity in risk. So, we began speaking to women from all parts of society to try and get a better sense of what they were experiencing.Here’s what we learned: power dynamics of relationships and sex were disrupting disease prevention. Women didn’t have the ability to protect themselves because of the limited options available to them — options like condoms, that placed the responsibility of reducing risk in the hands of men.Meanwhile, cases continued to surge in South Africa at an alarming rate, doubling annually in the general population.Existing methods to prevent HIV infection weren’t going to cut it. Approaches designed in the global North were never going to be able to fully account for the needs of women in Africa. That’s why new solutions had to be brought forward instead.One way that we sought to empower women was through a gel that contained Tenofovir, an antiretroviral (ARV) medication. This innovative approach, shown in the CAPRISA 004 trial, enabled HIV-negative women to protect themselves from the virus. CAPRISA’s research on PrEP was recently recognized by the VinFuture Prize as a lifesaving innovation from the global South.Today, Tenofovir is taken daily as a pill for HIV prevention, a solution also known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). It has been adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a key prevention option for both women and men.And it hasn’t stopped there — a range of new anti-retroviral drugs and long-acting formulations, delivered as injections and implants, are currently being evaluated to expand prevention choices.AIDS is no longer a fatal condition, instead, it is chronic yet manageable. But we still see too many deaths and new HIV infections, particularly in marginalized populations. Two-thirds of all people living with HIV/AIDS are in sub–Saharan Africa and the region accounts for 60% of all new infections.As we turn our focus towards other pandemics, such as COVID-19, we cannot afford to lose the gains made in HIV. It is a trap we fell into before — when early HIV work overshadowed TB efforts — and it is not one we can afford to be caught in again.Even now, COVID-19 continues to draw on lessons from the decades of work that have been poured into our HIV/AIDS response. This includes leveraging existing testing tools to detect COVID, utilizing clinical trial infrastructure to expedite vaccine development, calling on community engagement processes to educate the public, and relying on scientific expertise to guide governments in their response.The AIDS pandemic has taught us that scientists, policy-makers, and civil societies cannot work in a vacuum. There must be a unity of purpose that galvanizes the steadfast support of global leaders in governments and funding agencies across the world.Africa has the scientific leadership and intellectual capital to develop new technologies and interventions. This is something we have shown time and time again. If there is a problem, then local research is surely the best path toward finding a solution.Pursuing this path of innovation requires funding that will support and promote the growth and expertise of Africa’s scientists. Our inter-dependency and shared vulnerability underscore the importance of collaboration and resource-sharing both globally and regionally that must be used for the benefit of humanity. There is no time for complacency. We must ensure that solutions are tailored by local research to best benefit those in need.Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is an infectious diseases epidemiologist and Associate Scientific Director of the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). She was a 2021 Laureate of the VinFuture Prize, in the ‘Innovators from developing countries category.
The United States delivered 6.9 million condoms and 2.6 million lubricants to the Ministry of Health and Human Services to address supply shortages. Namibia has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world, and condoms remain a health sector priority to prevent the spread of HIV.
These products are worth US$275,000 (approximately N$4.3 million) and will be distributed to 273 hotspots and 14 collection points primarily targeting key populations (KPs) not yet supplied by the Ministry of Health. KPs include female sex workers, men who have sex with men, and transgender people, who are particularly vulnerable and disproportionately affected by HIV due to high-risk behaviors, marginalization, stigma, discrimination, violence, and criminalization, all of which contribute to a lack of access to health services.
“The founding father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin, once said: 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' While there has been remarkable progress in the development and deployment of ARV treatment, unfortunately there is still no cure for HIV. That is why prevention is so important,” said Jessica Long, Chargé d'Affaires of the United States Embassy, who presented the donation to the Executive Director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ben Nangombe.
The condoms and lubricants were purchased with funds from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Global Health Supply Chain Program. Proceeds will go to the KP-STAR project, which supports 75 facilities in and around Windhoek, Keetmanshoop, Gobabis, Otjiwarongo, Oshakati, Oshikango, Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Rundu and Katima Mulilo. In addition to providing condoms, KP-STAR is the only project that distributes lubricants to key populations in Namibia.
Since 2005, the United States has partnered with the Namibian government and NGOs to make HIV services more available to communities across the country. These condoms and lubricants will contribute to the overall fight against HIV/AIDS.
Self-stigma has been identified as one of the main problems responsible for the low acceptance of services for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS in the country.Over time, people, especially women who have tested positive for HIV/AIDS, have systematically lived in self-denial and orchestrated other factors beyond their control, but caused .Ms. Anthonia Nzeli, a 35-year-old banker, was diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive during her first pregnancy and was placed on antiretroviral drugs.As a young woman, Nzeli could not imagine how she would cope with taking drugs for the rest of her life and subsequently stopped taking the medication.She said her decision was based on the advice of her pastor, who discouraged her and asked her to pray that God would solve all the problems.According to her, she was using the local herbs in the belief that it would solve her problem.Nzeli said that after giving birth, the baby turned three months old and was taken to hospital only to be diagnosed as HIV positive."That day, I felt like the world had come to an end until a nurse came to my rescue, educating me on the things necessary to live a better life with the virus."According to her, the nurse made an appointment for her with a doctor and gave her advice on how to live with her baby.“The doctor advised me to come with my husband for a test, but he refused to come.“Since then, I have been in treatment for PMTCT and my ba on drugs and they asked me to come get tested with my son to monitor us.He said that the lack of adequate information about HIV has affected many families and urged the government to ensure that people receive proper education about the virus and how to handle it.Nzeli said that with the proper information obtained, she signed up for PMTCT treatment so that she could have her second HIV-negative child.She said that after five months, the husband agreed to be tested and came back positive, adding that the family has been high since 10."I think that with proper information about PMTCT, many pregnant women would have HIV-negative babies."Despite having been tested for HIV during pregnancy, most women have limited knowledge and awareness about the virus and PMTCT in particular.There are a number of potential barriers to the provision of PMTCT, including: HIV testing without adequate informed consent and counselling.Others are gaps in knowledge about HIV and mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) among women, perceived stigma in the home and community with cultural beliefs related to HIV.Among women who had been tested for HIV, awareness and knowledge about HIV and PMTCT remained low.There would be a need for mobile phone communication to improve uptake of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected pregnant women.Sociocultural and operational challenges, including HIV testing without informed consent, present significant barriers to expanding PMTCT services for women in the country.It is also essential to strengthen local capacity for effective counseling and testing in the antenatal setting.HIV is one of the main contributors to the high burden of maternal and child mortality and morbidity in the country.Some medical experts have given a solution on what the country can do to address the problem of low PMTCT in the country.Dr. Ijaodola Olugbenga, Deputy Director, PMTCT, Lead for National Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS (PMTCT) had advocated for state governments to procure HIV commodities to boost PMTCT services.According to Olugbenga, there was an urgent need for a clear community strategy to reach the unreached, as well as mobilize influential people in the community, especially religious leaders, who would help educate pregnant women about the need for PMTCT.He said it was necessary to understand why around 60 per cent of pregnant women give birth at home and then respond to their needs with a clear strategy.Olugbenga also called on the Federal Government to declare a national emergency over PMTCT.He said there was an urgent need for a clear community strategy to reach the excluded, recognizing the importance of working with all actors, private providers, traditional birth attendants (TBAs), community leaders and networks of people living with HIV.Olugbenga called for the creation and empowerment of the Local Government Area (LGA) team to process data related to HIV, registration of samples, commodities and other services.She said there was a need to organize all facilities (public and private) and other HIV service delivery points for pregnant women using a "hub and spoke" model.The hub and spoke model refers to a distribution method in which there is a centralized "hub". Everything originates from the hub or is shipped to the hub for distribution to consumers.From the hub, goods travel outward to smaller locations, called spokes, for further processing and distribution.“We need to strengthen communication and use of data based on the hub-and-spoke approach and with the commitment of the LGA team.“There is a need to develop a realistic state-specific approach to improving Ante Natal Clinic (ANC) development, ANC testing, and PMTCT coverage.“Approval and implementation of the state framework for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis,” Olugbenga said.She lamented the low uptake of antenatal care services, the low uptake of early childhood diagnosis services, and urged women to know their HIV status before becoming pregnant to help them plan accordingly.Mr. Geoffrey Njoku, Communications Specialist at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Nigeria, also urged the media to focus more on the reporting of PMTCT of HIV and AIDS to ensure a child-free society. with HIV.Njoku said the media needed to provide an update on the current status of HIV and AIDS in the country, adding that the media needed to bring HIV and AIDS back to the forefront of women on the importance of PMTCT.Dr. Atana Ewa, Associate Professor of Pediatric Respiratory/Infectious Diseases at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, said the management of children living with HIV needed more attention and enlightenment.Ewa emphasized the need to increase screening among women of childbearing age and pregnant women to control the spread of the virus.She said: "We need to ensure the reduction of prenatal transmission, give antiretroviral drugs to pregnant women and during lactation."He noted that for treatment modalities, acute bacterial infections should be addressed with treatment of opportunistic infections.He advised all pregnant women to seek HIV counseling and testing during the antenatal period, adding that HIV and AIDS remain one of the leading causes of infant mortality and morbidity in Africa.“Ideally, the health care provider should counsel parents and screen for HIV in a child who presents to a health facility with provider-initiated testing and counseling (PITC), since identifying the HIV in children requires a high index of suspicion.“Symptoms and signs of HIV infection in childhood are generally similar to those of other diseases seen in the tropics; but they can be more serious and occur more often."Common conditions associated with HIV are often infectious in nature," he said.Ewa said that the first generally non-specific features are fever, diarrhea, failure to thrive, cough and generalized lymphadenopathy.Others, he said, were later, the child would present features indicative of severe immune suppression, signs of opportunistic infections, and recurrent and more severe forms of common illnesses.He advised that all pregnant women should be tested for HIV to have the proper data to start PMTCT."We need to ensure the reduction of prenatal transmission, administer antiretroviral drugs to pregnant women and during lactation."According to World Health Organization guidelines, all babies who test positive for HIV should start treatment immediately.He said treatment must be linked to the mother's ARV drug course and would vary depending on the method of infant feeding.“Breastfeeding, the baby should receive nevirapine once a day from birth for six weeks. Whereas for replacement feeding, the baby should be given nevirapine once a day (or zidovudine twice a day) from birth for four to six weeks,” she said.Mr. Shola Ogundipe, health editor at Vanguard, said the media needed to bring new perspectives on HIV and AIDS-related issues in the country.He said that the media would have a positive impact on the communication process of the government's political agenda and legislation on HIV and AIDS, with a specific focus on PMTCT and EMTCT.He said that over the years, the Journalists Alliance for PMTCT in Nigeria (JAPIN) had pursued the agenda of PMTCT and EMTCT in Nigeria.He said this is in keeping with his role in ensuring that mother-to-child transmission of HIV receives the desired attention in relation to national HIV and AIDS issues.“JAPIN has successfully used various media platforms and documented strategies to address the challenges of EMTCT of HIV by providing broader coverage of the issues in Nigeria.“JAPIN has also bridged the communication gap between the government, healthcare providers, mothers, and civil society groups, when it comes to EMTCT in Nigeria,” he said.Ogundipe added that JAPIN had provided better insight into the scope and acceptability of infant feeding practices among women in Nigeria, specifically for HIV-positive pregnant women.Source Credit: NAN
We would like to see the government increase its funding for HIV / AIDS by at least half, so that in the event that donors withdraw, we can absorb the impact.KAMPALA, Uganda, January 13, 2022 / APO Group / -
The Uganda AIDS Commission (UAC) has called on the government to increase its funding for the fight against HIV / AIDS.
The UAC wants the government to bear at least half of the financial burden in an attempt to reduce dependence on donors.
UAC Director General Dr. Nelson Musoba said that the government currently contributes only 12 percent to HIV / AIDS programs, leaving the rest to donors and the private sector.
“HIV / AIDS continues to be predominantly funded by external sources. As a Commission, we would like to see the government increase its funding for HIV / AIDS by at least half, so that in the event that donors withdraw, we can absorb the impact, ”said Musoba.
He cited funding for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, where the government contributes just shs150 billion by charging most of the maintenance of 1,400,000 patients in treatment to donors. This, he said, puts the health of such patients at risk should donors drop out.
Musoba said this while appearing before the Presidential Affairs Committee on Thursday, January 13, 2022.,
He said the government should also put into operation the long-awaited AIDS Trust Fund which, he said, would ensure stable funding for HIV / AIDS programs.
The Fund would then be funded from the proposed tax revenue of two percent from alcohol and soft drinks and donor contributions, as mandated by the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 2014.
“The law has several provisions on sources of financing; It claims to charge two percent on the tax for beverages. The other provision is that there may be contributions from donors and individuals, and the donors are actually waiting for it to get going, ”Musoba said.
Lawmakers encouraged Musoba to interest the Minister-in-Charge of the Presidency who oversees the UAC to boost funding from the Fund, saying it will be a relief to the sector.
“In fact, we started this discussion in the Eighth Parliament after visiting Zimbabwe, where I was working; if it is operational, it will be of great help to you and the industry, ”said Hon Naome Kabasharira, vice chairman of the Presidential Affairs Committee.
Bukwo District MP Hon Evelyn Chemutai said she had participated in previous engagements related to the Trust Fund and that the fund was partially delayed by a disagreement over the account into which the money would be disbursed.
"There was an argument that the Ministry of Finance wants the money to go to the consolidated account and then distributed, but we insist that the Fund should have its own account but managed by the Ministry of Finance," Chemutai said.
UAC submitted its request for shs10.680 billion for the next fiscal year, which in addition to external funding will focus on reducing new HIV infections currently by 38,000 and the HIV prevalence rate of 5.4 percent.
Since 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that all people living with HIV (PLHIV) be provided with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART); a prescription for controlling HIV, including children, adolescents, adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women, regardless of clinical status or CD4 cell count. Globally, about 27.5 million [26.5–27.7 million] people living with HIV received ART in 2020. Health experts maintain that current Antiretrovirals (ARV) act mainly by antagonizing various HIV enzymes necessary for viral replication. Regrettably, the major challenge facing most developing nations is nondisclosure of status when tested HIV-positive. From investigation in Nigeria, many are reluctant to undergo HIV tests, and when they eventually submitted, some that tested HIV-positive refused to open up for fear of stigmatization.Nondisclosure of status has continued to constitute a barrier in the fight to combat the spread of HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. The stigmatization and discrimination that persons living with HIV are subjected to after disclosure demands a national emergency for sensitization. The way PLHIV are treated is critical and will always have adverse effects on other peoples’ disposition to go for tests or disclose their status. And many people are guilty of oversights and misconceptions.For emphasis, to encourage HIV diagnosis and disclosure of status by people that tested HIV-positive, there are practical things to do towards helping a loved one who has been diagnosed with HIV. The first is invoking lively conversations instead of isolation. To talk and be available for open, honest conversations about HIV with the person who is diagnosed with HIV is pivotal considering that the person may not always want to talk about it. It is recommended that showing them that they are still the same person despite the status and that they are more than their diagnosis is important.Second, listening attentively to understand their challenges to be able to offer possible support rather than being judgmental or hypercritical will add values. In fact, to unremittingly bolster them that HIV is a manageable health condition and that with ART therapy, it can be managed and help them stay healthy and live long, can build them up. All that is requisite is to learn from it. Educate yourself about HIV: what it is, how it is transmitted, how it is treated, and how people can stay healthy while living with HIV. Having a solid understanding of HIV is tremendously a big step forward in supporting your loved one as that will eliminate discrimination or stigmatization against PLHIV.Third, encourage treatment by health experts knowing that some people who are freshly diagnosed may find it difficult to take the bold step to HIV treatment. Your support and assistance at this critical moment certainly will be helpful. By getting linked to HIV medical-care early, starting treatment with HIV drugs, adhering to medication, and staying in care, people with HIV can keep the virus under control, and prevent their HIV infection from progressing to AIDS. So, support medication adherence and find out possible areas to support PLHIV in establishing a medication routine and sticking to it.Incontrovertibly, HIV/AIDS has become a global epidemic. According to UNICEF, about 320,000 children and adolescents were infected with HIV in 2019, and traced to one in every one hundred seconds. In 2020, approximately 56-100 million people were infected with HIV globally with 36.3 million total deaths recorded on account of Covid-19 pandemic which obstructed HIV medications. In Nigeria, 20,695 children below 9 years were newly infected with HIV in 2020 or one child in every thirty minutes. And about thirty percent of AIDS-related deaths in 2020 occurred in children. Data also shows that only about 3.5 percent of the 1,629,427 Nigerians receiving antiretroviral treatment (ART) are children, revealing a big treatment gap.Alarmingly, UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore said, “Unless we ramp up efforts to resolve the inequalities driving the HIV epidemic, which are now exacerbated by Covid-19, we may see more children infected with HIV and more children losing their fight against AIDS”.Health specialists explained that HIV targets the immune system and weakens people's defense against many infections and some types of cancer that people with healthy immune systems can get rid of. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. The immune function is typically measured by CD4 cell count. CD4 cell count is a test that measures the number of CD4 cells in the blood. CD4 cells, also known as T cells, are white blood cells that fight infection and play an important role in the human immune system. The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can take many years to develop if not treated. AIDS is characterized by the development of certain cancers, infections or other severe long-term clinical manifestations. The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection.Last but not the least, a key step to encourage disclosure of status when tested HIV-positive is to acknowledge with cheers. Always acknowledge, if someone has disclosed their HIV status to you to be trustworthy with their private health information. This builds their confidence to keep hope alive. Care is a potent tool. Ensure that the person is uplifted to a significant measure to prevent any regrets after disclosure. Essentially, reassure through words and actions, that their HIV status does not change your relationship or classification about them.These steps will not only build confidence but will also encourage them on taking medications and by extension, ardently motivate them to be part of the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Again, it must be reemphasized that HIV cannot be transmitted by handshakes, hugging, playing-together or other casual contact except unprotected sexual intercourse, blood transfusion or percutaneous actions. This infers that the discrimination against PLHIV is uncalled for. Always bear in mind that their encounter is a stimulus needed to encourage newly diagnosed persons.Umegboro, a public affairs analyst and social advocate is reachable via: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry of Health has prioritized the optimization of ARV regimens to ensure that people living with HIV receive the best available medicine in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.NAIROBI, Kenya, November 30, 2021 / APO Group / -
The Government is seeking a partnership with local manufacturers for contract manufacturing of HIV-related commodities, including ARVs, to ensure a sufficient supply of commodities.
Speaking at Afya House when she received a donation of 1800 TLD Anti-Retro-Virals (ARV) drug packs, from Universal Corporations Limited, Senior Health Secretary Susan Mochache noted that the challenges experienced in prevention, care and HIV treatment in the recent past, partly attributable to the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases, calls for self-sufficiency in commodities for strategic health programs.
The PS said the Ministry of Health has prioritized optimizing ARV regimens to ensure that people living with HIV receive the best available medicine in the most efficient and cost-effective way.
“The Ministry has also increased the funds allocated annually for the purchase of basic HIV products. In addition, we are investing in research and innovation to facilitate focused and evidence-based interventions that will accelerate the achievement of Universal Health Coverage ”. She said.
The donation comes in the week that Kenya joins the rest of the world on December 1, 2021 to mark World AIDS Day to be honored by HE President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nakuru County.