Rwanda To Offer Free AIDS Drugs to 90,000 Patients by End of Year, Official Says
Rwanda plans to offer free antiretroviral drugs to 90,000 HIV-positive people in the country by the end of 2004, Louis Munyakazi, head of the Treatment Research for AIDS Center, said on Thursday, the AP/Chicago Tribune reports. Currently, about 4,350 patients are receiving antiretroviral treatment in the country. The scale up of treatment will be funded by $85 million in aid from the World Bank, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The treatment initiative aims to provide drugs for approximately 100,000 patients by 2007 and care for those affected by the epidemic, including AIDS orphans. A total of 250,000 people will benefit from the initiative by 2007, according to Munyakazi. The program is one of the "most ambitious" on the continent, according to the AP/Tribune. "For us to attain this, we plan to start purchasing generic drugs because they are a lot cheaper than the branded ones," Munyakazi said. Currently, antiretrovirals cost as much as $30 per dose in the country, according to the AP/Tribune. More than 60% of Rwandans live on less than $1 per day (AP/Chicago Tribune, 8/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.