Newsweek Examines ‘Grass-Roots’ Efforts To Provide HIV/AIDS Treatment in Sub-Saharan Africa
Newsweek in its July 19 issue examined the "grass-roots" efforts of organizations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres and Treatment Action Campaign in sub-Saharan Africa to "mobilize millions of people" to seek HIV/AIDS treatment and create health infrastructure capable of delivering care. Although antiretroviral drug costs have dropped by 98% in the past several years and several initiatives -- including the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the World Health Organization's 3 by 5 Initiative -- have issued grants or helped design programs to provide treatment, less than 2% of sub-Saharan Africa's HIV-positive people are receiving treatment. According to Newsweek, many countries that have received grants are not ready to absorb the money, partly because many health care workers are moving to wealthier countries and those remaining are "overwhelmed and exhausted." Organizations such as TAC and MSF have set up home-based care initiatives, where trained community volunteers help patients adhere to drug regimens, establish voluntary test sites and organize support groups that "stand up" to the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. Such programs have proven that "grass-roots involvement is critical" to the fight against HIV/AIDS, Newsweek reports (Cowley, Newsweek, 7/19). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.