Ethiopia To Begin Distributing Antiretroviral Drugs With PEPFAR Funding
Ethiopia in 2005 will use $43 million in funding from the Bush administration's five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to distribute antiretroviral drugs at no cost to as many as 15,000 HIV-positive people in the country, U.S. officials said on Thursday, IRIN/Reuters reports. The Ethiopian government in 2005 plans to provide the drugs at 20 hospitals around the country to patients who cannot afford them, IRIN/Reuters reports. In addition, the country hopes to expand antiretroviral drug distribution to 210,000 HIV-positive people and administer HIV tests to 20 million people over the next five years, according to IRIN/Reuters. "It is not only drugs that you are providing," Taddesse Wahub, director of CDC in Ethiopia, said, adding, "You need to put in place (a) health care infrastructure and health care systems -- the personnel capacities as well as the overall capacities to be able to deliver" (IRIN/Reuters, 12/10). Ethiopia in September began selling antiretroviral drugs, which currently cost about $30 a month per patient. However, using PEPFAR funding, the country will become one of "few" African countries to offer at no cost brand-name antiretroviral drugs instead of generics, according to the Associated Press (Associated Press, 12/9). U.S. Assistant Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul said the United States also is providing 60 million condoms in Ethiopia as part of the "ABC" approach -- Abstinence, Be faithful, use Condoms -- to HIV/AIDS prevention, IRIN/Reuters reports. "We have no doubt that the ABC method has been effective and will continue to be effective," Dybul said. The Ethiopian government estimates that 1.5 million HIV-positive people live in the country (IRIN/Reuters, 12/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.