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[afro-nets] Zambian Government to Focus On Quality Of ARV Treatment

  • From: Lauren Pincus <lauren@healthnet.org>
  • Date: Tue, 21 Feb 2006 16:47:55 -0500

Zambian Government Must Focus On Quality Of ARV Treatment, In-
formation Management Systems, HIV/AIDS Advocates Say

21 Feb 2006

HIV/AIDS advocates and health officials in Zambia say efforts to
treat HIV-positive people in the country over the past year
should have focused more on the quality of treatment rather than
the number of people receiving treatment, South Africa's Inde-
pendent Online
http://www.iolhivaids.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=3110426 re-
ports. Zambia in 2005 aimed to have 100,000 HIV-positive people
receiving antiretroviral drugs by the end of the year, but the
country was able to reach only about half its target in that
time, Albert Mwango, national coordinator of antiretroviral
treatment at the Central Board of Health
http://www.cboh.gov.zm/, said. Due to a shortage of antiretrovi-
rals, no new patients are being enrolled in Zambia's HIV treat-
ment program, though there are enough antiretrovirals for those
already enrolled, he said. Advocates speculate that focusing on
meeting quantitative quotas that seek to increase the number of
people receiving treatment could have led to the drug shortage.
Mwango said there are many challenges in controlling HIV/AIDS in
Zambia, including facilitating the flow of information from dis-
tricts to the national office, which is hampered by the coun-
try's weak reporting system. The country recently has created a
new Health Information System Management program that will allow
data on antiretroviral treatment nationwide to be updated fre-
quently, Mwango said. He added that a lack of human resources
also makes it difficult to implement treatment programs. Clement
Mfuzi, coordinator for the Network of Zambian People Living with
HIV and AIDS, urged the government to pay more attention to the
quality, not quantity, of antiretroviral treatment. The health
board estimates that about 85,000 HIV-positive people living in
Zambia are eligible for the program every year. The operation of
an additional 20 to 30 health facilities in 2007 will expand HIV
treatment services in the country (Independent Online, 2/14).

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