South China Morning Post Examines MSF’s Efforts To Establish HIV/AIDS Treatment Program in China’s Henan Province
The South China Morning Post on Monday examined how Medecins Sans Frontieres for the past four years has been attempting to establish an HIV/AIDS treatment program in China's Henan province. According to Meinie Nicolai, MSF director of operations for Asia and Central Africa, a county government in the province asked MSF to establish operations in the area, but the provincial government has prevented the organization from entering Henan. MSF since 2003 has provided treatment for about 800 HIV/AIDS patients in the surrounding Chinese provinces of Xiagnfan, Hubei, Nanning and Guangxi, and one-fifth of those accessing the Hubei program reside in Henan, according to the organization. In November 2002, county authorities in Henan verbally agreed that MSF could set up an HIV/AIDS program by the following spring after the group had conducted six onsite assessments, according to MSF. However, the officials later sent a fax to MSF to inform the organization that the program had been delayed, Nicolai said. It is believed the fax followed a petition to officials in Beijing from Henan residents, including people living with HIV/AIDS receiving care from MSF in Hubei, the Morning Post reports. The petition allegedly said that medical care in Hubei was better than in Henan, adding that government officials were at fault for the problem. According to Nicolai, officials might be preventing MSF from establishing the program in Henan because of the petition, which also might complicate applications from the group in the future. Government officials were not available to comment, according to the Morning Post (South China Morning Post, 6/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.