Mozambique Launches Pilot Program To Provide Free Antiretroviral Drugs to 8,000 People
Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano on Saturday announced that the country has launched a pilot program to provide free antiretroviral drugs to 8,000 HIV-positive adults, Reuters reports. The program is funded by the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation and the World Bank. Although the program will cover only a "very small number (of people)," Chissano said he is seeking more funding to expand distribution, according to Reuters. Mozambique is one of the 16 African and Caribbean countries that will receive money from the five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Mozambique has a population of 18 million people, approximately 1.5 million of whom are HIV-positive. Chissano said Mozambique is negotiating with Western donors and pharmaceutical companies to lower prices for antiretroviral drugs, help train medical staff and build new testing and treatment facilities, according to Reuters. Chissano added that Mozambique and several other countries are discussing plans to build manufacturing plants to produce generic antiretroviral drugs. Marie-Pierre Poirier, Mozambique resident representative for UNICEF, criticized the pilot program because it is not expected to provide antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive children (Esipisu, Reuters, 5/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.