U.N. Envoy Lewis Calls for Increase in Antiretroviral Drugs in Mozambique
U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis on Friday called for the rapid increase in provision of antiretroviral drugs for HIV-positive people in Mozambique to avoid a "grave crisis" in the country, the Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique/AllAfrica.com reports. Speaking at the end of a weeklong trip to the country, Lewis said the government "must move heaven and earth" to reach its target of 55,000 HIV-positive people receiving antiretrovirals by the end of the year because only 25,000 to 28,000 individuals are currently receiving treatment. Lewis also said it is crucial to ensure that treatment is available nationwide and not just in the capital, Maputo. The Health Ministry aims to make treatment available in at least three districts in each of the country's 10 provinces, according to the Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique/AllAfrica.com. Lewis also said that women in the country are significantly more vulnerable than men to HIV/AIDS, and he called on the government to empower women, pass laws against sexual violence, diminish gender inequality and alter men's views about sexuality to help reduce HIV transmission. Lewis praised some of Mozambique's pilot projects to fight HIV/AIDS, including Drug Resource Enhancement Against AIDS and Malnutrition centers, a program established by Italy-based Community of Sant'Egidio. Lewis urged the Health Ministry to adopt nationally the DREAM program, which has been highly successful at preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission. He also called for more health workers to be trained in order to combat the epidemic (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique/AllAfrica.com, 6/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.