Malawi To Begin Five-Year, $196 Million Antiretroviral Drug Program
Malawi soon will begin a five-year, $196 million nationwide program to provide antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive people at no cost, Xinhuanet reports. The program is to be funded by a grant from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Malawi's Health Minister Yusuf Mwawa on Tuesday said that 50 sites throughout the country will participate in the program, including hospitals run by the Malawi Defense Force and Malawi Police Service -- two agencies "seriously hit" by the HIV/AIDS epidemic -- according to Xinhuanet (Xinhuanet, 5/11). Mwawa said that currently only 6,000 people out of 150,000 who need antiretroviral treatment in Malawi are receiving the drugs, according to BBC News. About 14% of Malawi's population is HIV-positive, and 70,000 more Malawians become HIV-positive each year (BBC News, 5/11). Malawi's political opposition "slammed" the announcement, noting it was made only a week before parliamentary and presidential elections, according to Reuters (Mzembe, Reuters, 5/11). Mwawa "dismissed" the suggestion that the announcement was made for political purposes, according to Xinhuanet. He added, "We can't put everything on hold simply because we are voting next week" (Xinhuanet, 5/11).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.