Zimbabwean Antiretroviral Drug Manufacturers Seeking WHO Certification To Receive U.N. Funding
Zimbabwean antiretroviral drug manufacturers are seeking certification from the World Health Organization to receive U.N. and other multilateral agency funding to produce more affordable antiretroviral drugs, Amon Mpofu, evaluation and monitoring manager for the country's National AIDS Council, said last week at the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists' annual meeting, the Herald/AllAfrica.com reports (Herald/AllAfrica.com, 9/12). According to Mpofu, 600,000 HIV-positive people in Zimbabwe need treatment. He added that the country's antiretroviral program at the end of 2005 was able to provide treatment for 32,000 people, instead of 60,000 as planned, partly because of the shortage of foreign currency. Mpofu also announced that Zimbabwe's AIDS levy, which aims to raise money for HIV/AIDS programs, has yielded roughly $1.7 million since NAC was created in 1999. Zimbabwe was the first country in southern Africa to implement a levy for HIV/AIDS funding (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/12). The capacity of local drug manufacturers to produce antiretrovirals is "limited because raw materials [needed to produce the drugs] require foreign currency," Mpofu said, adding that local manufacturers "are not getting funding from NAC because they are not WHO-certified, something that is a requirement for a company to get funding from United Nations agencies." According to Mpofu, some local companies have been certified by WHO but still need to be reviewed by the United Nations to receive funding (Herald/AllAfrica.com, 9/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.