Sep 5, 2011

Hundreds Stage "Die-in" as ARV Shortage threatens PMTCT Programs in Burundi

AUTHOR:IrinSOURCE:Irin PlusNews Global

A national shortage of antiretroviral medications (ARVs) in Burundi has led to the recent death of numerous HIV-positive individuals across the nation and has triggered discouragement and unrest among many. The lack of life-saving and sustaining ARVs is due to a combination of massive decreases in HIV program funding and fractures in the health ministry organization. World Bank funding that has provided $50 million over the past nine years for Burundi's HIV programs has ceased, leaving current programs in limbo and halting availability of ARVs. Hundreds of activists showed their frustration over lack of HIV medication during a "Die-in" this past March.

Less than half of HIV-positive individuals in Burundi have had access to ARVs, and that number is declining with the recent drug shortage. The impact of this crisis is painfully apparent in the nation's struggling prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) programs. Recent goals set in attempt to lesson the gap between the need for PMTCT programs and services available are now at risk of failure due to lack of HIV-care funding. Without adequte PMTCT programs, there is serious risk of increased spread of HIV.

This stark reality in Burundi loudly speaks to Life for Mothers. We see this decrease in funding for critical programming as a death sentence for countless individuals in Burundi and other nations facing similar situations. Our work seeks to fill some of these significant gaps by providing support for PMTCT programs as well as other maternal health services to ensure healthy women, children and communities.

To read the Irin article about the ARV shortage, click here.
To read the Irin article about the March 2011 Die-in protest, click here.

Did you know?

99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Source:The World Health Organization (WHO), 2010

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