Zambia Rejects Plans to Build AIDS Clinic Due to Disease-Related Stigma
Zambian health officials at a meeting convened to plan the national AIDS strategy on Thursday rejected the country's National HIV/AIDS Council proposal to create a specialized AIDS clinic, Reuters Health reports. Although an estimated 200 Zambians die from AIDS-related illnesses every day in Zambia, the disease carries a "terrible social stigma." Dr. Elwyn Chomba, executive director of the University Teaching Hospital, Zambia's biggest referral hospital, said at the meeting, "Specialists in this field are definitely needed, but we are against having a specialized clinic that will only deal with HIV/AIDS. Already we have a big problem in making people accept that they have HIV. What will make them agree to go to this special hospital?" But National HIV/AIDS Council Chair Emmanuel Kasonde said, "The government needs to work with us and declare this matter a disaster because we are losing close to 200 people a day, it is worse than war." Zambian officials have not yet permitted the purchase of antiretroviral drugs at hospitals due to their high cost and the limited ability of the state sector to distribute and monitor the complicated drug regimens (Reuters Health, 8/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.