TAC Newsletter - 8 April 2003

The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) welcomes the steps taken by the Namibian government to introduce anti-retroviral therapy in the public sector. It has drafted guidelines, allocated financial resources and tendered internationally to buy generics. The Namibian Department of Health Guidelines on anti-retroviral therapy state:

"In the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART), it is well known that the quality of life and the lifespan of a patient with HIV/AIDS are markedly reduced. Given the estimation that more than 200,000 Namibians are living with HIV/AIDS, this inevitability is having and will continue to have a devastating impact on individuals, households, the community, and Namibian society at large. The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has been shown in numerous settings now to prolong survival of persons living with HIV/AIDS, increase their productivity and quality of life, and produce savings to the health care system through reducing the need for hospitalisation. The Ministry of Health and Social Services has taken steps to make this therapy available to patients in the public sector."

TAC welcomes the stated commitment by the Namibian government to work with organisations and communities in civil society to ensure that ARVs are optimally used and that prevention and care efforts are intensified. Namibia joins Botswana, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Cote 'd Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya and other African countries in making ARVs available in their public sector on varying scales and according to the funds available to the country. South Africa with much greater resources than all of these countries leave 600 people a day to die. We attempt to make peace in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (both necessary commitments) but we neglect the lives lost to HIV/AIDS, the pain left behind and the devastation in families in our own country. The delays by government in finalising a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan, as well as its continued hesitancy to provide anti-retroviral therapy can only be explained by its flirtation with HIV denialists.

TAC will continue to work with Namibian and other African activist organisations through the Pan-African Treatment Access Movement to ensure greater access to HIV/AIDS treatment for all people who need it in Africa and globally. We urge the African Union to implement the resolutions of the Abuja Declaration and UNGASS on HIV/AIDS. We urge the South African government to immediately release the completed costing study on ARV treatment and to sign the NEDLAC agreement.


Article reproduced from The Namibian

The Namibian (Namibia)
02 April 2003

Government sets aside N$82m for anti-AIDS drugs Max Hamata

GOVERNMENT has budgeted N$82,2 million for the purchase of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV-positive people, says Finance Minister Nangolo Mbumba.

Mbumba told The Namibian at the National Assembly that the money has been allocated in the 2003-4 Budget.

A further N$74 million to fight HIV-AIDS has been made available in the Development Budget.

Mbumba said the Ministry of Health and Social Services had launched research on how to effectively use anti-retroviral drugs to combat the spread of the disease.

"The seriousness of HIV-AIDS and its impact on human welfare and the economy is unquestionable," Mbumba said.

When he tabled the Main Budget in the National Assembly three weeks ago, Mbumba said Government and the private sector should find ways of co-operating to design a fund to which Government employers and workers can contribute to combat AIDS. Health and Social Services Minister Dr Libertina Amathila has said a tender has already been awarded to an international company to supply anti-retroviral drugs within two months.