Financial Times Examines Response to Tanzania’s HIV/AIDS Epidemic
The Financial Times on Wednesday examined how the Tanzanian government and nongovernmental organizations in the country are responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The disease spread quickly throughout the country in the 1980s and 1990s, and government authorities "were slow to react," according to the Times. Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa in 1999 declared HIV/AIDS a national emergency, and the Tanzania Commission for AIDS was established in 2000 to implement a nationwide strategy to fight the disease. Education programs sponsored by the commission have been "widely praised," the Times reports. However, the coordinated strategy between donors, health care workers and the public is being hindered by the recent focus on increasing access to antiretroviral treatment, according to Bergis Schmidt-Ehry of the Germany-based development group GTZ. Schmidt-Ehry -- who heads the committee that coordinates efforts between government and NGOs to fight the epidemic -- said there is concern that donors "will decide you need a big amount of money for care and treatment and then neglect prevention." The government is attempting to increase the number of HIV-positive people taking antiretroviral drugs to 44,000 by the end of 2005. According to the latest data, about 7% of the adult population in Tanzania are HIV-positive, and about 200,000 people in the country are living with AIDS (Symon, Financial Times, 8/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.